Anti-Semitic grafitti at Emory University.
(photo credit: EMORY WHEEL)
The number of violent anti-Semitic attacks in the US rose dramatically last year, according to data released on Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League.
Carol Nuriel, executive director of the ADL office in Israel, presented the annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents at a committee meeting of the Immigration and Absorption Ministry.
The organization recorded a total of 941 incidents in the US in 2015, an increase of some 3 percent from the 912 incidents recorded in 2014. Fifty-six of those incidents fell under the most violent category of anti-Semitism, representing a more than 50 percent increase from the 36 assaults reported in 2014.
Moreover, the organization recorded almost double the amount of anti-Semitic acts on US college and university campuses last year, compared with the previous year. A total of 90 incidents were reported on 60 college campuses in 2015, compared with 47 incidents on 43 campuses in 2014. Campus anti-Semitic incidents accounted for 10 percent of the total incidents reported in the US in 2015.
“We are disturbed that violent anti-Semitic incidents are rising,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “And we know that for every incident reported, there’s likely another that goes unreported. So even as the total incidents have remained statistically steady from year to year, the trend toward anti-Semitic violence is very concerning.”
As in previous years, the states with the highest numbers of reported anti-Semitic incidents were those with large Jewish populations: New York, California, New Jersey, Florida and Massachusetts.
“It’s hard to believe that these things are happening in the country most friendly to Israel and the Jewish people,” said Immigration and Absorption committee chairman MK Avraham Neguise (Likud).
The ADL, however, which has been monitoring anti-Semitism since 1979, stressed that overall levels in the US are historically low. “The good news is the number of anti-Semitic incidents overall are much lower than we witnessed in the mid- 2000s,” said Marvin D. Nathan, ADL national chairman.
“While that decrease is encouraging, it is troubling that on average there is one anti-Semitic assault reported in this country every week, and at least two anti-Jewish incidents on average every single day. These numbers do not even account for all of the online harassment we see every hour on social media, which is so widespread it is difficult to quantify.”
MK Yehudah Glick (Likud), said at the committee discussion that it was important not to take things out of proportion and noted that hate speech and hate crimes in general have increased due to the social networks.
“We can’t look at the whole world through the prism of ADL numbers. The US is not France, the Jews there do not live in fear. Of course, each case should be addressed, but it should be taken in proportion,” he said, adding that the number of anti-Semitic reports was a negligible percentage of the US Jewish population.
Foreign Ministry representative Akiva Tor agreed that the real concern is not in the US.
He pointed to the Jewish sonin- laws of both US presidential candidates as a “sign” that Jews are accepted in the US.
“The real problems are in France and Belgium” he echoed.
“This is where, in our opinion, we need to focus.” He added that the ministry is aware of the campus issue, and is working together with the Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Ministry to combat it.
Elisheva, a student at the University of Pennsylvania, interning for MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), accompanied Lavie to the meeting and weighed in on the discussion about anti-Semitism on campus.
“It’s hard to talk about ‘the US student’, because every campus is different and everyone’s experience is different,” she told the meeting. She said she does not feel anti-Semitism on a daily basis, though she did mention that a mezuza she hung on her dorm room door when she arrived at campus was taken down. She stressed that she does not know if the motive was anti-Semitism; she simply replaced it with a new alongside a note reading “do not remove” and had no further problems.