Acts of anti-Semitism in America are on a severe upswing. According to a study released this week by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which advocates for fair Jewish representation and tracks anti-Semitic hate speech, anti-Semitic incidents surged 57 percent in 2017, the largest single-year increase on record.
The ADL documented 1,986 reported instances of anti-Semitism in 2017, up from 1,267 in 2016. This included 1,015 instances of in-person or telephone harassment (including bomb threats), 952 instances of vandalism, and 19 physical assaults.
Last year was particularly noteworthy for public acts of anti-Semitism. It was, after all, the year neo-Nazis celebrated Donald Trump’s inauguration with “Heil Hitler” salutes. It was the year a group of white supremacists descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, torches in hand, chanting neo-Nazi slogans, including the booming “Jew will not replace us” and the no-less-loaded “blood and soil.” It was the year a Republican congressional candidate tweeted photos of himself reading an anti-Semitic book that blamed Jewish integration for all society’s problems.
The 2017 study follows a rising trend in acts of anti-Semitism. For example, during the 2016 election cycle, the ADL found that more than 800 journalists received a total of 19,000 anti-Semitic messages on Twitter. Popular alt-right blogs like The Right Stuff have gained a following in part because of their vocal anti-Semitism.
Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO and national director, said in an emailed statement on Tuesday:
A confluence of events in 2017 led to a surge in attacks on our community — from bomb threats, cemetery desecrations, white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, and children harassing children at school. These incidents came at a time when we saw a rising climate of incivility, the emboldening of hate groups and widening divisions in society. In reflecting on this time and understanding it better with this new data, we feel even more committed to our century-old mission to stop the defamation of the Jewish people, and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.