(NEW YORK) — Just days after a new report revealed antisemitic incidents reached an all-time high in 2022, a new ad campaign calling on non-Jewish people to condemn antisemitism crossed millions of Americans’ TV screens.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found antisemitic incidents increased by over 30% in 2022 compared to 2021, according to a report published last Thursday.
The ADL, a leading anti-hate and anti-bias advocacy group, counted 3,697 antisemitic incidents in 2022 — the highest total since the ADL began tabulating those incidents in 1979, according to a report the group released in March. Those incidents mark a 36% increase from the 2,717 incidents the organization tabulated during the previous year, which was at the time a historic high. Reported incidents range from harassment to vandalism and assaults on individuals.
Antisemitic vandalism increased by 51% in 2022, with swastikas — a symbol the ADL said are “generally interpreted by Jews to be symbols of antisemitic hatred” — present in more than half of the tabulated incidents, the organization said.
The ADL also tabulated 111 assaults against Jewish people in 2022, with Orthodox Jews targeted in 59 of those cases, as well as 589 incidents targeting Jewish institutions, with synagogues facing the brunt of the tabulated events. Those incidents include the hostage situation at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas in January 2022, during which a gunman held three congregants and the synagogue’s rabbi hostage.
Pop culture references are also featured in the report. Nearly five dozen of the reported incidents from Oct. 11, 2022, through the end of the year — as well as propaganda from white supremacist groups — included references to Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West who began making antisemitic remarks on social media and in interviews during the fall.
“While we can’t point to any single factor or ideology driving this increase, the surges in organized white supremacist propaganda activity, brazen attacks on Orthodox Jews, a rapid escalation of bomb threats toward Jewish institutions and significant increases of incidents in schools and on college campuses all contributed to the unusually high number,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement accompanying the release of the data.
The ADL collects data through reports to the organization from victims, as well as details from law enforcement and the media. The organization said that its staff “verify the credibility of every incident, eliminate duplicates and weed out trolling and spam before including them in the Audit.”
In 2022, “no assaults perpetrated against the Jewish community resulted in mass causalities,” the ADL wrote.
Some organizations announced they were taking action following the report’s release. On Monday, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, donning a blue lapel pin on his blazer, announced the The Foundation to Combat Antisemitism’s “Stand Up to Jewish Hate” campaign, slated to air on NBC’s The Voice, and the Kelly Clarkson Show and Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.
“This little blue square represents the Jewish population in the United States — 2.4%,” said Kraft, pointing to the pin. “But we’re the victims of 55% of the hate crimes in this country.”
The campaign has multiple goals, including encouraging those who are not Jewish to speak out against antisemitism, according to Matthew Berger, executive director of FCAS.
“Let the Jewish community know they are not fighting alone,” one online video states.
The Jewish community nationwide faces an evolving threat environment where extremist ideologies and lone wolf actors threaten people of faith.
Some Jewish leaders have spoken about the tension between keeping communities safe while also remaining inclusive. Some synagogues and other institutions also recruit volunteer community members to keep their institutions safe.
Biden administration officials have also spoken about the importance of protecting Jewish institutions and other faith communities. Last Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security rolled out a website that provides resources to prevent “targeted violence and terrorism.” The website, PreventionResourceFinder.gov, is meant to be a one-stop shop for states and localities to attempt to stop targeted violent crime from occurring, officials told reporters the afternoon of the rollout.
The resources include grant funding and training opportunities as well as research about threats facing communities.
“The threat environment we’re facing … continues to evolve every year; [it] becomes more diverse — more challenging, I would argue, almost every day,” a senior administration official said during a call with reporters.
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