The year 2021 marked the highest-ever number of antisemitic incidents, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
The numbers tracked in the group’s annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents this year paint a frightening picture of the trend taking place in the United States.
According to the report, there were 2,717 antisemitic incidents reported in the US last year, 34 percent more than in the year before, and an average of more than seven incidents daily.
It’s the highest number of antisemitic incidents on record since the ADL began tracking antisemitism in 1979.
The figures include assaults, harassment, and vandalism.
The good news? There were no lethal attacks on the American Jewish community.
However, in 2021, antisemitic assaults rose by 167 percent over 2020 on Jews or those perceived to be Jews, who were targeted with physical violence together with evidence of antisemitic hatred. Eleven attacks were carried out with deadly weapons.
There were 1,776 incidents were categorized as harassment, defined as cases where one or more Jewish people (or people perceived to be Jewish) were harassed with antisemitic slurs, stereotypes, or conspiracy theories. Acts of harassment increased 43 percent over 2020.
In addition, 853 incidents were categorized as vandalism, defined as cases where property was damaged along with evidence of antisemitic intent. Acts of antisemitic vandalism increased 14 percent with swastikas, interpreted as symbols of antisemitic hatred, present in more than two-thirds of the incidents.
Attacks were reported in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (Washington DC).
A driver backed his car into a group of Chassidic Jewish men in Brooklyn. Jewish diners in Los Angeles were attacked by a group carrying Palestinian Authority flags, yelling epithets.
In May 2021, there was a whopping 141 percent surge in antisemitic incidents that began when Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization launched a war against the State of Israel. The war, which lasted 11 days, ignited a tidal wave of attacks on Jews around the world.
There were 211 cases of harassment, 71 cases of vandalism and 15 antisemitic assaults across the US between May 10 and May 31. Nearly 40 percent of the attacks included explicit references to Israel or Zionism.
Students were targeted in the halls of their schools. Other incidents included harassing phone calls to Jewish institutions.
Incidents targeting schools, synagogues, and Jewish community centers, including harassment, vandalism and assaults, rose by 61 percent since 2020.
A Colorado synagogue that received a threatening phone call from an individual who said, “Watch your back. We are coming for you. All of you. You and everyone in the building. The Zionists and the Jews.”
Some anti-Israel rallies crossed the line from protests about Israel’s behavior to antisemitic tropes and opposition to all Jews. One such incident involved a Chicago rally where a protester held a sign with a swastika referencing “Nazi Zionist Jews.”
Violent assaults took place from coast to coast, often targeting those visibly Jewish.
A Jewish man in Manhattan wearing a yarmulke was attacked by a group that yelled anti-Jewish and anti-Israel slurs while they punched, kicked, pepper-sprayed and beat him.
Security measures have been stepped up at many Jewish institutions, where those who rely on them now feel endangered.
There was, however, a drop in attacks against dead Jews.
Jewish graves and/or cemeteries were desecrated six times in 2021, down from 11 in 2020. The desecration of Jewish headstones is a long-standing act of antisemitism that has been employed by those looking to terrorize and offend Jews.
“The ADL continues to press for additional funding for security enhancements for at-risk houses of worship, schools, community centers and other non-profit institutions,” a release from ADL noted, referring to a federal program to fund protection for Jewish institutions.
The Non-Profit Security Grant program offers funding, institutional security training and outreach to provide non-profits with the capacity to increase their defense against the above threats, including physical security, and cybersecurity capacity and coordination.