U.S. antisemitism up 140% in 2023, ADL survey finds

Unprecedented spike attributed to war in Gaza with 321% rise on college campuses; over a third of antisemitic incidents referenced Israel and Zionism; white supremacist's propaganda responsible for 1,161 incidents

American Jews have seen an unprecedented increase in antisemitic incidents far exceeding any other annual tally in the past 45 years, the Anti-Defamation League said on Tuesday, after a report showing a spike of 140% since the previous year, in an averaged about 24 anti-Jewish incidents in the U.S. per day. The staggering figures were attributed to the ongoing war in Gaza.
The ADL Audit of Antisemitic Incidents tallied 8,873 incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism across the U.S. It also recorded a dramatic spike of 5,204 antisemitic acts post-Oct. 7, reflecting global trends as Jewish communities worldwide faced heightened tensions and hatred in response to the massacre and conflict – on campuses, in the public square and at anti-Israel demonstrations.
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הכתובות שרוססו על בית הכנסת בסיאטל
הכתובות שרוססו על בית הכנסת בסיאטל
Graffiti sprayed on a Seattle synagogue
In response to the new findings, ADL today called on governor’s offices across the country to create their own state-level versions of the White House’s landmark National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, the first of its kind, comprehensive effort to address antisemitism from across the political spectrum.
“Antisemitism is nothing short of a national emergency, a five-alarm fire that is still raging across the country and in our local communities and campuses,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “Jewish Americans are being targeted for who they are at school, at work, on the street, in Jewish institutions and even at home. This crisis demands immediate action from every sector of society and every state in the union. We need every governor to develop and put in place a comprehensive strategy to fight antisemitism, just as the administration has done at the national level.”
In its survey the ADL said it found antisemitic incidents in Major Findings all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It found that there were 1,987 incidents targeting Jewish institutions such as synagogues, Jewish community centers and Jewish schools, an increase of 237 percent from 589 in 2022. This significant increase was in part due to the dramatic spike in antisemitic bomb threats, the vast majority of which targeted synagogues in the fall. In total, synagogues experienced 73 percent of all incidents affecting Jewish institutions in 2023.
Antisemitic activity reported on college and university campuses increased by 321%from 2022. In non-Jewish K-12 schools, 1,162 incidents were reported, an increase of 135%.
The report also found an increase in activity by organized white supremacist groups, who were responsible for 1,161 antisemitic propaganda distributions last year – an increase from the 852 propaganda incidents attributed to white supremacist groups in 2022.
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צעדה של נאצים ניאו-נאצים ברחובות העיר מדיסון וויסקונסין ארה"ב אנטישמיות
צעדה של נאצים ניאו-נאצים ברחובות העיר מדיסון וויסקונסין ארה"ב אנטישמיות
Neo Nazis march in Wisconsin in November
(Photo: X)
The states with the highest number of incidents were California (1,266), New York (1,218), New Jersey (830), Florida (463) and Massachusetts (440). Combined, these five states accounted for 48 percent of the total incidents.
“Despite these unprecedented challenges, American Jews must not give in to fear,” Greenblatt said. “Even while we fight the scourge of antisemitism, we should be proud of our Jewish identities and confident of our place in American society. It may not feel so right now, but we have many more allies than enemies," he said.
“The massive volume of incidents we documented in 2023 took many forms, including bomb threats and swatting campaigns, all aimed at terrorizing the community by disrupting services and activities at synagogues and other Jewish institutions across the country,” said Oren Segal, Vice President of the ADL Center on Extremism. “Our tracking of a swatting network, enabled ADL to offer crucial intelligence to law enforcement, ensuring accountability for perpetrators, while also preemptively alerting targeted communities and mitigating potential harm.”
"Of the 8,873 incidents in 2023, 3,162 (36 %) specifically contained elements referencing Israel or Zionism. This is significantly higher than the 241 incidents reported in 2022, which accounted for 6.5% of the total incidents," the ADL said adding that the rhetoric used included the promotion of classic antisemitic tropes, signage equating Judaism or Zionism with Nazism, unapologetic support for terrorism, glorification of terrorist groups and extreme anti-Zionism.
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