hate watch

ADL finds ‘disturbing’ 388% rise in antisemitic events following massacres in Israel

From Oct. 7-23, there were 312 antisemitic incidents in the U.S., compared to 64 from the same period last year; similar spikes in anti-Jewish attacks seen worldwide

In the wake of Hamas’ massacre in southern Israel on Oct. 7, antisemitic incidents in the U.S. have spiked by 388%, according to a new report released by the Anti-Defamation League on Wednesday. 

The preliminary findings identified a total of 312 antisemitic incidents between Oct. 7-23, 190 of which were directly linked to the Israel-Hamas war. The findings are a sharp contrast from the same period last year, when ADL reported 64 anti-Jewish incidents, only four of which were Israel-related.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the group’s CEO, said the findings are alarming but not surprising, as it is typical for antisemitic incidents to rise globally when conflict erupts in Israel. During the last Israel-Hamas war, in May 2021, the ADL reported a 115% increase in antisemitic events from May 11 through the end of that month, compared with the same period in 2020.

“From white supremacists in California displaying antisemitic banners on highway overpasses to radical anti-Zionists harassing Jewish people because of their real or perceived support for the Jewish state, we are witnessing a disturbing rise in antisemitic activity here while the war rages overseas,” Greenblatt said in a statement. 

Major increases in antisemitic activity have also been seen in Jewish communities around the world since the Oct. 7 attacks. In France, there have been 588 antisemitic incidents reported to police as of Monday; Germany has seen a 240% increase of antisemitic incidents since Oct 7, compared to last year, almost all of which have been related to Israel; and London police have reported at least 218 antisemitic hate crimes reported from October 1-18, more than 13 times the number from the same period last year.

Richard Priem, COO and deputy national director of Community Security Service, an organization that has trained more than 3,000 volunteers around the U.S. to protect synagogues and other Jewish institutions, echoed that conflict between Israel and Hamas “is used by some people in the United States as an excuse to target the Jewish community.” 

Priem told eJewishPhilanthropy that the results of the ADL’s survey are “deeply concerning.” 

“We will continue to work with our staff team of security experts and thousands of volunteers around the country to keep our Jewish institutions and events safe,” he said. 

The ADL report comes two days after White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, in response to a question about antisemitism, suggested that threats against Jews have not increased since Oct. 7. She said on Monday that officials have “not seen any credible threats” and then went on to address crimes targeting Muslims and Arab Americans.

After facing criticism for seemingly downplaying attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions, Jean-Pierre later clarified that the White House was “very concerned about a rise in antisemitism, especially after the horrific Hamas terrorist attack in Israel.”

The rise in antisemitism, not only in the United States but around the world, also comes on the heels of a widely circulated statement from an official channel associated with Hamas leader Khaled Mashal calling on Muslims worldwide to participate in a “Day of Rage” on Oct. 13 and for countries to join Hamas in the battle against Israel. Although the remark was vague and no U.S. officials reported any credible threats, several Jewish day schools in two cities decided to close that day in a rare move. 

ADL’s latest report found 400 anti-Israel rallies since Oct. 7, 109 of which the group called “explicit or strong implicit support for Hamas and/or violence against Jews in Israel.”  

The data did specifically address the number of rallies or gatherings on college campuses, which have been a hotbed for events to celebrate the attack on Israel, often planned by local chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine, at more than a dozen U.S. universities. Some of the groups, at schools including Georgetown University and University of California San Diego, have described their events as vigils for Palestinian “martyrs.”

As the war between Israel and Hamas appears poised to enter a new phase with Israel’s likely ground incursion in Gaza, armed guards are becoming a new normal at some Jewish centers on college campuses around the country. “It might seem unimaginable that students going to a simple service would have to walk through armed guards, but that is in some cases what we need on the campuses,” Hillel International’s CEO Adam Lehman said during a webinar last week. 

Specific incidents cited in the ADL’s findings include an individual allegedly punching a Jewish woman in the face, and telling her it was because she’s Jewish, at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan on Oct. 15. On Oct. 8, a car with individuals holding Palestinian flags reportedly swerved intentionally out of its lane, nearly hitting a visibly Jewish family in Clifton, N.J. 

In response to the findings, Greenblatt called on “political leaders to CEOs to university presidents, to forcefully and unequivocally condemn antisemitism and terrorism. This isn’t hard. Words matter, and while the war in Gaza escalates, we encourage all those in positions of

power to use their platforms to condemn hate and terrorism, wherever it occurs.”