(The Center Square) – In the three months after Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, antisemitic incidents increased throughout the U.S. by 360%, according to preliminary data published by the Anti-Defamation League.
At least 3,283 incidents were reported between Oct. 7, 2023, and Jan. 7, 2024, according to the preliminary data. This represents a 360% increase from the 712 incidents reported over the same time period in the prior year. It’s also higher than any total tracked in any year in the past decade, except for 2022.
In 2022, the total number of antisemitic incidents were already at a historic high of 3,697, with an 87% increase occurring in the southwest region of the U.S.
With an average of nearly 34 antisemitic incidents occurring every day, 2023 is on track to be the worst year for Jews in America with the highest number of antisemitic acts reported since ADL began tracking this data in the late 1970s. The ADL has yet to release 2023 data for the calendar year.
“The American Jewish community is facing a threat level that’s now unprecedented in modern history,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. “It’s shocking that we’ve recorded more antisemitic acts in three months than we usually would in an entire year.”
ADL’s Center on Extremism gathers reports and tracks antisemitic incidents in three categories: assaults, harassment and vandalism. This includes criminal and non-criminal acts of harassment and intimidation, which includes distribution of hate propaganda, threats and slurs, vandalism and assault reported by victims, law enforcement and community leaders. In 2022, antisemitic incidents occurred in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The number of incidents is not the same as, and is generally higher than, the number of victims.
After the Hamas attacks and over the three months evaluated, ADL tracked 60 antisemitic assaults and over 500 incidents on U.S. college campuses.
Of the 3,283 antisemitic incidents reported over this time period, ADL tracked 60 physical assault incidents, 553 acts of vandalism, and 1,353 acts of verbal or written harassment.
There were also 1,317 pro-Hamas rallies at which participants engaged in antisemitic rhetoric and expressed support for terrorism against Israel and/or anti-Zionism.
Several incidents occurred in Texas and Florida, whose Republican governors pledged support for Israel. They also met with Israeli leaders, instructed law enforcement officers to crack down on antisemitic acts and beefed up security outside of Jewish schools, establishments and houses of worship. After the Hamas attacks, a south Texas congresswoman’s office was vandalized by Hamas supporters. In Florida, pro-Hamas groups and violent protestors were shut down at state-funded universities. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was also the only governor in U.S. history to fly home stranded Americans from Israel.
“In this difficult moment, antisemitism is spreading and mutating in alarming ways,” Greenblatt said. “This onslaught of hate includes a dramatic increase in fake bomb threats that disrupt services at synagogues and put communities on edge across the country.”
Among the incidents reported to have occurred at school campuses, at least 505 occurred on college campuses; 246 at K-12 schools nationwide.
At least 628 antisemitic acts were committed against Jewish institutions, including synagogues and community centers.
Two-thirds of all incidents reported were directly related to the Israel-Hamas war, according to the report.
ADL also highlighted incidents that occurred in the first few days of the New Year, with the most occurring in California. On Jan. 3, at least six Jewish temples in San Diego County received bomb threats; 91 Jewish houses of worship statewide were targeted.
In 2022, the greatest number of antisemitic incidents occurred in five states: New York (580), California (518), New Jersey (408), Florida (269) and Texas (211). These five states accounted for 54% of all incidents reported.
In 2022, one hostage crisis occurred at a synagogue in the Dallas area and 91 bomb threats were made against Jewish institutions, the highest number recorded since 2017.
By Bethany Blankley | The Center Square contributor