Photo Credit: Daveynin via Wikimedia
People pay their respects at a memorial to the victims of a mass shooting in front of the Tree of Life synagogue, Pittsburgh, PA, November 4, 2018.

The U.S. Jewish community experienced near-historic levels of anti-Semitism in 2018, the Anti-Defamation League said in its annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents for 2018.

In that year, the number of victims of anti-Semitic assaults more than doubled, and a gunman carried out the single deadliest attack against the Jewish community in American history, according to the report.


The organization’s Audit recorded a total of 1,879 attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions across the country in 2018, the third-highest year on record since the ADL started tracking such data in the 1970s.

In a year marked by the white supremacist shooting spree at a Pittsburgh synagogue, which claimed 11 lives, and punctuated by a dramatic surge in white supremacist propaganda activity nationwide, ADL’s Audit identified 59 people who were victims of anti-Semitic assaults in 2018, up from 21 in 2017.

While the overall number of incidents represents a five percent decline from 1,986 incidents reported in 2017, the number of incidents last year remained at near-historic levels – 48 percent higher than the total for 2016 and 99 percent higher than in 2015.

“We’ve worked hard to push back against anti-Semitism, and succeeded in improving hate crime laws, and yet we continue to experience an alarmingly high number of anti-Semitic acts,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director.

“We unfortunately saw this trend continue into 2019 with the tragic shooting at the Chabad synagogue in Poway. It’s clear we must remain vigilant in working to counter the threat of violent anti-Semitism and denounce it in all forms, wherever the source and regardless of the political affiliation of its proponents.”

ADL’s annual tally of incidents nationwide found that all but four states experienced anti-Semitic incidents. In addition to the October mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, 2018 saw high levels of white supremacist activity, including propaganda on college campuses and in communities, and hateful robocalls aimed at voters.

The organization’s annual Audit classifies all incidents into three categories: assault, harassment and vandalism. Of the total incidents reported in 2018:

Assaults: 39 incidents, marking an increase of 105 percent from the 19 incidents reported in 2017. Those incidents affected 59 victims, up from 21 in 2017, and include the 11 fatalities and two injured congregants in Pittsburgh.

Harassment: 1,066 incidents of anti-Semitic harassment were reported to ADL last year, a five percent increase from 1,015 in 2017, and a 48 percent increase from 721 in 2016.

Vandalism: 774 incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism were recorded in 2018, down 19 percent from 952 in 2017, but up 52 percent from 510 in 2016.

The complete 2018 data, as well as data from previous years can be found on ADL’s H.E.A.T. Map, an interactive online tool that allows users to geographically chart anti-Semitic incidents and events nationally and regionally.

“It is incumbent upon our leaders to continue fighting anti-Semitism at every opportunity,” said George Selim, ADL Senior Vice President of Programs and a former DHS official. “We will continue to advocate for legislative and other remedies to ensure that there is no place for anti-Semitism in our society.”


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.