Incidents of white supremacist propaganda distribution and events reached an all-time high in the United States in 2022. According to the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) annual assessment of propaganda activity recorded 6,751 incidents in 2022, a 38 percent increase over the previous year.
According to an ADL statement, the Center on Extremism of the organization tracked a myriad of propaganda activity last year, including the mass distribution of antisemitic, racist and anti-LGBTQ+ fliers; the dissemination of stickers, banners, graffiti and posters; hateful laser projections on buildings and stadiums and in-person white supremacist gatherings, among other events.
According to the assessment, the reported incidents of explicitly antisemitic propaganda more than doubled, rising from 352 incidents in 2021 to 852 in 2022.
“There’s no question that white supremacists and antisemites are trying to terrorize and harass Americans and have significantly stepped up their use of propaganda as a tactic to make their presence known in communities nationwide,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “This is a cowardly attempt to intimidate marginalized communities and those who don’t align with their twisted worldview and draw in new recruits. In response to this threat, we must recommit ourselves to the fight against hate and say, ‘Enough is enough.’ We cannot sit idly by as these extremists pollute our communities with their hateful trash.”
Propaganda was reported in every state except Hawaii, with the highest levels of activity (from most to least active) in Texas, Massachusetts, Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, Utah, Florida, Connecticut and Georgia. ADL’s H.E.A.T. Map provides a visual representation of the propaganda efforts by geographic location.
Three white supremacist groups – Patriot Front, Goyim Defense League (GDL) and White Lives Matter (WLM) - were responsible for 93 percent of the activity.
Texas-based Patriot Front was responsible for the vast majority – 80 percent – of propaganda distributions in 2022. The group distributed propaganda in every state except Alaska and Hawaii but was most active (from most to least active) in Massachusetts, Texas, Michigan, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Utah.
The Goyim Defense League (GDL), an antisemitic network that has significant crossover with other white supremacist groups and movements, was responsible for at least 492 propaganda incidents in 2022, representing roughly seven percent of the total propaganda nationwide and 58 percent of the year’s antisemitic propaganda incidents. This is a significant increase from the 74 GDL propaganda incidents recorded in 2021.The massive uptick in antisemitic propaganda overall was largely due to GDL’s growth over the course of the year.