Anti-Semitic incidents in the US surged nearly 60 per cent in 2017 – the largest increase of any year on record, according to a new report.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a nonprofit dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, documented 1,986 such incidents across the US last year. The number marked an increase of 57 per cent since 2016 – the largest single-year increase since the ADL started collecting data in 1979.
Incidents included instances of vandalism, harassment, and assault reported by victims, law enforcement, and the media, according to the organisation’s press release. General expressions of white supremacy and instances of discrimination against Jewish people were not included, unless they involved explicit anti-Semitic harassment.
The report noted a marked rise in the number of incidents at elementary and high schools over the past two years. More than 450 incidents were reported at K-12 schools in 2017, and 204 incidents were documented on university campuses.
Among other things, the incidents included vandalism with swastikas and phrases like “Hitler was not wrong,” and “Kill all Jews”. In another incident, a student was reportedly harassed by classmates with jokes about the Holocaust.
nti-Semitic hate crimes in the UK also reached a record highlast year, according to Community Security Trust. The anti-Semitism monitoring organisation recorded 1,382 such incidents nationwide in 2017.
Anti-Semitic incidents spiked at the beginning of the year, in the months following President Donald Trump’s inauguration. In fact, a previous ADL report found an 86 per cent increase in incidents in the first three months of 2017.
Some have tied the rise in anti-Semitic incidents to Mr Trump and his embrace of white-nationalist figures like former presidential adviser Steve Bannon.
The president also famously delayed denouncing white supremacist groups in the wake of a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where protesters chanted: “Jews will not replace us”. Mr Trump ultimately faulted “both sides” for the violence that ensued.
But the number of anti-Semitic incidents has been on the rise since at least 2014, according to the ADL. And while Mr Trump’s election may have emboldened some white nationalist factions, it also sparked an outpouring of support for the Jewish community.
In White Fish, Montana, for example, a planned neo-Nazi rally was abruptly cancelled amid widespread public outcry. Even the ADL itself saw a rise in donations in the days after the election – a 50-fold increase buoyed largely by first-time donors.
Several donors sent money in Mr Bannon’s name.