Antisemitic incidents in US soar to highest level in 2 decades.Trump admin is accused of failing to condemn bigotry.

Antisemitic incidents in the US surged 57% in 2017, the Anti-Defamation League said on Tuesday, the largest year-on-year increase since the Jewish civil rights group began collecting data in 1979.

Close to 2,000 cases of harassment, vandalism and physical assault were recorded, the highest number of antisemitic incidents since 1994, it said.

The rise comes amid a climate of rising incivility, the emboldening of hate groups and widening divisions in American society, according to ADL's national director, Jonathan Greenblatt.

"A confluence of events in 2017 led to a surge in attacks on our community – from bomb threats, cemetery desecrations, white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, and children harassing children at school," he said.

Rising numbers were in part attributed to the fact that more people were reporting incidents than ever before, the ADL said, adding that its staff independently verify the credibility of each claim.

Incidents were reported in all 50 US states for the first time since 2010, with higher numbers reported in areas with large Jewish populations.

Donald Trump's administration has been accused of failing to condemn religious bigotry. Jewish groups scolded the president last year for not mentioning Jews or antisemitism in a statement about the Holocaust.

Following August violence at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacists waved insignia from Nazi Germany and yelled "Jews will not replace us", Trump was slammed for suggesting a moral equivalency between members of the far right and counterdemonstrators. "You had people that were very fine people on both sides," he said.

Some of Trump’s “ fine people” at Charlottesville in August 2017 where a counter-protester, Heather Heyer, was murdered.

The ADL's report said US schools and colleges were particularly affected, with antisemitic incidents nearly doubling since 2016, often including swastikas drawn on school facilities or Jewish students' notebooks. Sometimes vandalism included phrases such as: "Hitler was not wrong" or "white power".

There were 204 incidents on university campuses in 2017, compared with 108 in 2016. A separate ADL study released last month found a more than 250% increase in white supremacist activity, such as distributing neo-Nazi fliers, on college campuses in the current academic year.

Jewish graves or cemeteries were desecrated seven times in 2017, the group said, contributing to a sense that the American Jewish community was "under siege".

"One bright spot in this was the response of members of the Muslim and Christian faiths, who raised thousands of dollars to help repair the damaged tombstones," it said.

Last year's surge bucks a trend in which numbers have mostly declined over the past two decades, although there were moderate increases in 2014 and 2015. In 2016 the numbers started to rise significantly.

Jews and Muslims were the most targeted groups in the US for religious-motivated hate crimes in 2016, according to the FBI, accounting for 54% and 24% of offences respectively.

The ADL's report included 163 bomb threats in 2017, the vast majority of which were made by an Israeli-American teenager who was later arrested and faces accusations of making threats for financial gain. The teenager's calls stoked fears of rising antisemitism.

The ADL said it "included the bomb threats in the total count because, regardless of the motivation of any specific perpetrator, Jewish communities were repeatedly traumatised by these assaults on their institutions and threats to their safety."

The Guardian. Feb. 27, 2018


This article appeared 8 months before the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre. This Guardian article appeared 8 months before the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre. Trump has encouraged violence by standing with white supremacists & other hate groups. Vote. Vote.Do all you can to stop Trump & the GO. #MakeAmericaAmericaAgain

October 28, 2018

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