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Antisemitic Incidents Reached Record High in 2021, ADL Report Says

The report documented 2,717 instances of antisemitism in 2021, a 34% increase from the 2,026 instances the year before, and the highest amount that the ADL has ever recorded since their annual audits began in 1979.
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April 26, 2022
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The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) yearly Audit of Antisemitic Incidents released on April 26 found that antisemitic incidents reached an all-time high in 2021.

The report documented 2,717 instances of antisemitism in 2021, a 34% increase from the 2,026 instances the year before, and the highest amount that the ADL has ever recorded since their annual audits began in 1979. Those instances consisted of 1,776 incidents of harassment, 853 instances of vandalism and 88 cases of assaults. The ADL report noted that there was a “surge” in antisemitic incidents during the 11-day Israel-Hamas conflict in May 2021; unsurprisingly, 386 of the antisemitic incidents in 2021 involved anti-Israel and anti-Zionist rhetoric. Another 484 incidents were the result of far-right groups.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told CNN’s “New Day” host John Berman that the numbers found in the report are “stunning.” “It starts with words,” he said. “We see rhetoric online. We see crazy claims by elected officials and public figures and things manifest in violence, as happened last May around the fighting in Gaza, when there was a 150% spike in anti-Jewish acts in New York, in Los Angeles, all over the United States.”

Greenblatt added that various conspiracy theories have scapegoated Jews for the COVID-19 pandemic and for the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. “It’s coming from the extreme right. It’s coming from the radical left,” Greenblatt said. “You see a level of venom that frankly is frightening … and this year we had the hostage crisis in Colleyville. People are on edge.”

 

In the Los Angeles area, the report found that there were 182 antisemitic incidents; 104 of those incidents were digital or in-person harassment. Sixty-four of the incidents were vandalism and 14 were assaults. One notable incident was when members of a pro-Palestinian caravan attacked patrons outside of Sushi Fumi restaurant in the Beverly Grove after asking if the diners were Jewish.

Statewide, 367 antisemitic incidents occurred in 2021, a jump of 27% from the year prior.

“We’re seeing a new, but unfortunately age-old, kind of epidemic in our city—and it is one of antisemitic hatred,” ADL Los Angeles Regional Director Jeffrey I. Abrams said in a statement. “Of the 15 recorded antisemitic assaults in California, 14 of them took place in the Los Angeles region. We remember the violent and brazen assault on Jewish diners at a sushi restaurant in May of last year. While our city reels from an increase in assaults, these heinous acts of harassment, vandalism and propaganda all cause a ripple effect, with the perpetrators seeking to instill fear among not just the Jewish community, but all minority and marginalized communities. And this we cannot, and will not, tolerate.”

Other Jewish groups expressed alarm over the report’s findings.

“We must not be complacent as these numbers surge and must respond in concert with our Jewish and non-Jewish allies,” Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles President and CEO Rabbi Noah Farkas said in a statement. “Working together with our partners locally and globally—we will prevail, and love will conquer hate. Let us also remember that we are not defined by antisemitism. To be a Jew is to love life and be an advocate for peace and justice. Let not those who hate us define us. ”

David Bocarsly, Executive Director of the Jewish Public Affairs Committee, also said in a statement, “The ADL’s report confirms what so many of us in the Jewish community already felt to be true: that antisemitic and hate incidents are happening around us—to us—at staggering levels beyond any time in recent memory. We also know we are not alone. Our friends and neighbors in other minority communities are experiencing similar anxiety and fear as this recent tide of hate affects us all. Our legislative agenda supports policies that tackle each stage in the evolution of hatred: education, preventing its spread, physical security, and community response. We call on the legislature to swiftly and urgently enact our anti-hate agenda, to protect Jews and all people in the State of California.”

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