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Anti-Semitic assaults hit an all-time high in New York and New Jersey in 2021, higher throughout the country

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Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP via Getty Images

Anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. hit an all-time high in 2021, with the states of New York and New Jersey accounting for nearly 30% of the reported total.

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), incidents (being defined as vandalism, harassment, or assault) were up significantly last year. According to the ADL’s annual summary, these incidents are due to pandemic restrictions decreasing and a retaliatory backlash in response to Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip in May 2021, NBC 4 New York reported.

The ADL recorded 416 incidents in New York in 2021, including 51 assaults that primarily occurred in Brooklyn. The organization also reported 370 total incidents in New Jersey.

Scott Richman, the regional director for the ADL in New York and New Jersey, said, “The alarming uptick in anti-Semitic incidents in our state should be deeply concerning to all — Jews and those outside of the Jewish community. The fact that these incidents included an unprecedented number of vicious assaults — frequently targeting visibly Jewish individuals on the streets of New York, including young children — is incredibly disturbing.”

The rise in anti-Semitic attacks runs parallel to a general increase in hate crimes throughout these areas, as well. Hate crimes rose 24% in the first four months when compared to the same period in 2020. They rose another 32% in the same period this year.

According to the ADL Center on Extremism’s Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, 2,717 anti-Semitic incidents occurred throughout the U.S. in 2021. This marks a 34% increase from the recorded 2,026 incidents in 2020. It also marks the highest number on record since the ADL began tracking anti-Semitic incidents in 1979.

The ADL said, “Of the 2,717 incidents recorded in 2021, 1,776 were cases of harassment, a 43% increase from 1,242 in 2020 and 853 incidents were cases of vandalism, a 14% increase from 751 in 2020. The 88 incidents of antisemitic assault (a 167% increase from 33 in 2020), involved 131 victims; none of the assaults were deadly.”

The ADL reported that “incidents in K-12 schools, colleges and universities increased in 2021 but were flat compared to the five-year average.” The ADL logged 331 incidents of anti-Semitism at non-Jewish K-12 schools — marking a 106% increase from 2020 — and 155 incidents at colleges and universities — indicating a 21% from 2020.

The report also catalogued 525 anti-Semitic incidents at Jewish institutions such as synagogues, Jewish community centers, and Jewish schools.

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