Nassau police officers from the Bureau of Special Operations stand...

Nassau police officers from the Bureau of Special Operations stand watch at the Young Israel of Woodmere synagogue on Jan. 3, 2019. Credit: /Kendall Rodriguez

Antisemitic attacks skyrocketed 36% last year, setting a record with a total of 3,697 incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism, the most since 1979, when New York’s Anti-Defamation League began keeping records.

The data, said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO and national director, confirms what Jews have “felt and seen first hand.”

Assaults rose 26% to 111 from 2021, harassment was up 29% to 2,298, and vandalism climbed 51% to 1,288.

“In a year when antisemitism found mainstream acceptance like never before, antisemites were emboldened to act on their animus,” said Oren Segal, vice president of the ADL Center on Extremism. “From the antisemitic ‘Great Replacement’ theory to Ye’s claims about Jewish power, these conspiracies fueled real-world incidents of hate.”

One of the most worrying findings is the increase in assaults, according to Alan Mindel, chairman of Glen Cove’s Holocaust Museum & Tolerance Center.

“It means Jews are physically assaulted for being Jews around the United States; that’s an incredible statistic,” he said. The data underscores the need for the museum’s educational programs to counter the antisemitism conveyed by some politicians, sports stars and celebrities like Ye (formerly Kanye West). They amplify “a very powerful public message going out that is multiplying what’s going on on a constant basis … and the broader public simply doesn’t have the educational base to recognize and understand.”

One 2022 assault was fatal: a University of Arizona professor was shot dead on campus Oct. 5 by a student who believed the professor was Jewish, said ADL spokesman Jake Hyman. About four-and-a-half years ago, 11 worshippers were killed at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Congregation.

Rabbi Art Vernon, at West Hempstead's Congregation Shaaray Shalom, also pointed to how lone actors can "self-radicalize" because of hate-filled tropes. Their isolation makes preventing attacks much harder. 

"The internet is so pervasive and all the platforms that exist," he said, that "relatively small numbers of groups, white supremacists and others who are using antisemitism as a tool to advance their political objectives or are just antisemitic, it's just so easy for them to get their message out."

More than half the antisemitic attacks occurred in New York (580), California (518), New Jersey (408), Florida (269) and Texas (211). 

Said Vernon: "We thought naively that with all that has happened in America, and all the social integration, we were way down on the hate list relative to where we were in the 1930s, and the shock to the Jewish community is 'Wow, wow, the problem has not gone away like we thought it would.'  "

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