In light of a 100% increase in antisemitic incidents between 2021 and 2022 in Connecticut, Democratic US Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy announced a substantial federal funding boost for the state.
Connecticut, which recorded almost 70 such incidents in 2022, many of them inspired by Ye’s (formerly rapper Kanye West) antisemitic remarks, will benefit from a $14.3 million injection aimed at enhancing homeland security and emergency preparedness.
Data from the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) underscored the need for such measures. The sum, drawn from various grant programs under the US Department of Homeland Security and FEMA, will be employed to amplify security measures and provide necessary training for law enforcement in emergency response.
Last December, as Ye’s Twitter remarks made national headlines, Connecticut saw an increase in antisemitism, including a large sign on a tractor-trailer truck supporting Ye, to a middle school student who experienced daily harassment by classmates taunting him for being Jewish and playing Kanye West music on their phones every time he came in a room. This behavior escalated, leading to Nazi regime references and significant harassment by the rest of the student body.
Blumenthal emphasized the importance of the funding: “Our state has confronted numerous violent threats against its institutions and infrastructure. The federal support will fortify our stance against complacency and ensure our communities are both safer and feel more secure.”
Murphy reinforced this, highlighting the dual threat of escalating antisemitic attacks and the unpredictability brought about by climate change. “It’s crucial for our state to be equipped and ready to handle any emergency,” he said.
Connecticut’s non-profit faith organizations have been granted a total of $3.2m. specifically to safeguard groups at elevated risk of terrorist attacks. This includes 23 synagogues and churches that will employ the funds for security enhancements and emergency preparedness.
Kanye West's impact on Connecticut antisemitism
One in every five Connecticut towns, a total of 34 communities, saw at least one antisemitic incident in 2022, according to the ADL. This is up from only 18 municipalities reporting incidents in 2021. Not only did antisemitism increase in Connecticut, but the communities impacted are across every region of the state. Included in the count are incidents of white supremacist propaganda, incidents in K-12 schools, major corporations with DEI insufficiencies, and vandalism of Jewish institutions.
ADL Connecticut Regional Director Stacey Sobel said in March that the “ADL calls on everyone to come together to reject hate and extremism and work towards creating a better community that does not exclude, marginalize, or target any person.”