Reported antisemitic incidents reached all-time high in 2022, ADL says
"There's been a shift to more public spectacle," one expert told ABC News.
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 such discrimination crossed millions of Americans' TV screens.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found antisemitic incidents increased by more than 30% in 2022 compared to 2021, according to a report published last month. The 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 group's March report. 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.
The organization collects data through reports from victims, which ADL staff work to verify, as well as details from law enforcement and the media.
"There is no one single reason why antisemitic incidents are on the rise. But there are several trends, including the emboldening of extremists and hate groups, in part due to the political discourse," Emily Snider, an Antisemitic Incident Specialist at the ADL's Center on Extremism, told ABC News.
Some organizations announced they were taking action following the report's release. On March 27, 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 national television.
"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."
"Let the Jewish community know they are not fighting alone," one online video states.
Biden administration officials have also spoken about the importance of protecting Jewish institutions and other faith communities. On March 23, the Department of Homeland Security rolled out PreventionResourceFinder.gov, a website that provides resources to prevent "targeted violence and terrorism."
Antisemitism serves as a "connective tissue" that brings together different hate and extremist groups, Susan Corke, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), told ABC News.
When asked whether the SPLC has tracked a similar rise in antisemitic incidents, Corke said that while the SPLC does not track specific events, statistics from the ADL along with other data from the SPLC show "that there's been a shift to more public spectacle, that there's more hateful incidents that are intersecting people in their daily lives."
Those incidents include "flyering," defined as hate groups distributing flyers with antisemitic propaganda. One such incident occurred in October 2022, when antisemitic flyers faulting Jewish people for health, social and racial issues were distributed in Beverly Hills, California.
"My family was forced to flee our homeland when I was a year old because of antisemitism and violence, so to see some of the same ideas, Jewish conspiracy theories, pop up at our home it's really terrifying," Sam Yebri, a Jewish refugee from Iran, told ABC News after the incident.
Another public spectacle of antisemitism: graffiti on Jewish institutions. In October, Ben and Esther's Vegan Jewish Deli in Portland, Oregon, was vandalized with a swastika.
"As a Jew, it's something that I've dealt with my whole life," Justin King, the deli's owner, told ABC station KATU. "My childhood synagogue was shot up in Miami, and to this day they still have the shotgun holes in the stained glass windows."
"This type of action needs to upset people. And if it didn't, I would have to question where I am living," King told KATU.
Corke noted that hate crimes are often underreported, as police departments are not required to report hate crimes to the federal government. She noted the rise in hate crimes against one group is often indicative of discrimination on the rise more broadly, such as the increased harassment against Asian Americans since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"When we see rises in hate crimes or hate incidents, among any particular group of people, you tend to see that across all the categories," Snider said.
Snider said there could also be some overlap between the perpetrators of antisemitic and anti-Asian American crimes, including within organized white supremacist groups.
The rise of antisemitic incidents requires the appropriate attention to be fully understood, Snider and Corke said.
"I don't think it's ever too much work to shine light on hate. ... And we do need media, and politicians, and school officials, and also our entire society to shine light when hate happens in order to hopefully effect the change," Snider told ABC News.
Corke called for "a different kind of awareness" that places these incidents in a broader context.
"Because when there's a hate crime, there's expressions of concern and then it dies down. I think what people are failing to understand, that this is a more organized and longer-term, campaign, movement, by the far right to undermine democracy in America," she said.
"[We should be] recognizing that a hate crime is more than just that one crime, but it really harms the whole community and is intentional to create this larger fear in society," she added.
But even amid the concerning trends, Snider said that the Jewish community in America should use the ADL's report as a renewed wakeup call -- while still remaining proud of its identity.
"Our communities are strong. We're strong. We're resilient. I wish we didn't have to be resilient, but we are. And I hope that the Jewish community continues to take these incidents seriously, continues to firm up security at their institutions," Snider said. "But always, always, always, it's important to remain firmly proud, proud to be Jewish, and feel empowered to express your Jewish identity authentically, however that looks like for you."
ABC News' Luke Barr and Kendall Ross contributed to this report.