Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Russians (and Of Course One Very Prolific Israeli-American Teenager)

slate |  A new report from the Anti-Defamation League has found that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. spiked in 2017, increasing by an unprecedented 57 percent from the year before. 

The ADL report cited 1,986 incidents of harassment, threats, and vandalism targeting Jews in the country. It was the most dramatic increase since the organization started tracking these incidents in the 1970s and the second-highest number on the record. 

According to the ADL, this increase resulted in part from a near doubling of incidents on schools and college campuses. The results may also have been influenced in part by more widespread reporting. But the report also specifically cited the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and it noted a “rising climate of incivility, the emboldening of hate groups, and widening divisions in society.” 

The rise in incidents took the form of vandalism and harassment, including 163 bomb threats against Jewish institutions. (Physical assaults against Jews actually fell, according to the report.) Two people were arrested in 2017 for repeated bomb threats. One, an Israeli American teenager, was arrested in March for making more than 150 of those threats to Jewish community centers and other Jewish institutions. “[R]egardless of the motivation of any specific perpetrator, Jewish communities were repeatedly traumatized by these assaults on their institutions and threats to their safety,” the ADL wrote in the report. “The bomb threats sowed fear and anxiety among Jews across the country.”