US anti-Semitic acts hit record high

Updated 13 May 2020

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Anti-Defamation League recorded 2,107 acts of anti-Semitism in the US in 2019, the highest number since record-keeping began in 1979. — AFP/File
Anti-Defamation League recorded 2,107 acts of anti-Semitism in the US in 2019, the highest number since record-keeping began in 1979. — AFP/File

NEW YORK: The United States saw a record number of anti-Semitic incidents last year, including a sharp spike in physical attacks, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said on Tuesday in its annual report.

The ADL, which works to protect Jewish communities, recorded 2,107 acts of anti-Semitism in the US in 2019, the highest number since record-keeping began in 1979.

“This was a year of unprecedented anti-Semitic activity, a time when many Jewish communities across the country had direct encounters with hate,” CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.

“This contributed to a rising climate of anxiety and fear in our communities.”

High-profile attacks included a shooting at a synagogue in California in April, another shooting at a kosher grocery store in New Jersey in December and a stabbing at a rabbi’s house in New York state that same month.

Anti-Semitic incidents rose 12 per cent from 2018, when there were 1,879 acts, the audit found.

Last year was worse than 2017, which previously had the highest number of cases with 1,986.

2019 saw a 56 per cent increase in physical assaults, the ADL said.

Five people died in anti-Semitic violence and another 91 individuals were attacked physically, it added.

More than half of the assaults nationwide took place in New York City, home to the largest Jewish population outside of Israel.

Incidents were reported in every state, except Alaska and Hawaii.

The states with the highest numbers of cases were New York, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

The ADL said some 270 incidents were committed by known extremist groups or individuals inspired by extremist ideology.

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2020