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Anti-Semitic Incidents Across U.S. Have Surged 67 Percent This Year, Study Finds

Rabbi Hershey Novack of the Chabad center walks through Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City on Feb. 21, 2017, where almost 200 gravestones were vandalized. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

A new report tallying the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States from the beginning of the year through the end of September found a 67 percent surge compared to last year.

The Anti-Defamation League audit found the greatest increases in schools, with jumps in bullying and vandalism seen from grade school through college.

A bump in anti-Semitic incidents was also recorded after the August “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., at which one counterprotester was killed when a suspect photographed earlier in the day with white supremacists ran his car into a group of demonstrators.

In the first three quarters of the year in 2016, there were 779 reported anti-Semitic incidents, including 29 cases of assault, 322 cases of harassment and 428 cases of vandalism.

In the first three quarters of this year, harassment reports more than doubled: there were 1,299 reported anti-Semitic incidents, including 12 cases of assault, 703 cases of harassment and 584 cases of vandalism.

ADL CEO and national director Jonathan A. Greenblatt said he was “astonished and horrified” by the steep rises in anti-Semitic incidents.

“While the tragedy in Charlottesville highlighted this trend, it was not an aberration,” Greenblatt said in a statement. “Every single day, white supremacists target members of the Jewish community — holding rallies in public, recruiting on college campuses, attacking journalists on social media, and even targeting young children.”

Greenblatt said many school incidents go unreported. “We are deeply troubled by the rising number of anti-Semitic incidents, bullying, and hate in our nation’s schools and we don’t think the statistics paint a full picture of what is happening,” he said.

In Healdsburg, Calif., in May, students taunted a sixth-grade boy with swastikas and lighters, telling him he would burn “like they did in the Holocaust.” In Radington Beach, Fla., in March, a Jewish student was taunted with Holocaust memes and a classmate drew a swatiska and concentration camp prison number on his arm. In Longmont, Colo., in April, a Jewish high school student who had been the target of anti-Semitic slurs for weeks was assaulted.

After Charlottesville, where white nationalist demonstrators carried Nazi imagery and chanted “Jews will not replace us,” the daily average of 2.36 anti-Semitic incidents rose to 4.3 per day.

The ADL’s global index of anti-Semitic sentiment around the world found in 2015 that 10 percent of Americans, or some 24 million Americans, hold anti-Semitic views, with even distribution across gender, age groups and religion. Thirty-three percent polled on a number of canards said Jews are more loyal to Israel than America, 16 percent said Jews have too much power in the business world, 16 percent said Jews have too much power in international financial markets, 20 percent said Jews talk about the Holocaust too much, and 14 percent said people hate Jews because of the way they behave.

Twelve percent of Americans said Jews have too much control over the media, 12 percent said they believed Jews have too much government control, and 14 percent said Jews think they’re better than other people. Thirteen percent said Jews only care about what happens to other Jews, while 10 percent said Jews have too much control over global affairs.

The new survey found the largest spikes in anti-Semitic incidents correlating with states that have larger Jewish population: New York, California, Massachusetts, Florida and Pennsylvania.

In Brooklyn this September, an Orthodox Jewish woman was assaulted by a man calling her a “fucking Jew.” In Pensacola, Fla., this August, swastikas and the white supremacist symbol “14-88” were spray-painted on homes and cars.