First 9 months of 2017 saw surge in anti-Semitism in US

WASHINGTON — The first nine months of 2017 saw a 67-percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents over the same period in 2016, new data from the Anti-Defamation League has shown.

Those incidents include physical assaults, acts of vandalism, and bomb threats to Jewish institutions, according to the ADL’s Audit of Anti-Semitic incidents, which was released Thursday morning.

A tally found that from January 1 to September 30, there were 703 incidents of harassment, including 162 bomb threats; 584 incidents of vandalism, 52 of them against Jewish institutions; and 12 physical assaults.

Those figures include the more than 2,000 calls made by an 18-year-old US-Israeli teen from Ashkelon who was apprehended by Israeli authorities in April. He allegedly made many of the bomb threats to Jewish institutions throughout the United States and other countries.

Much of the nation was shocked this summer to see the level of anti-Semitic and racist and vitriol when a white supremacist rally turned violent in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Rally-goers, who billed themselves as part of the “alt-right” movement, marched through the streets of the bucolic town hoisting Nazi flags and confederate regalia. Some were wearing Ku Klux Klan garments. The day culminated in a Nazi sympathizer ramming his car into a crowd of counter-protestors, killing one and injuring many.

“We are astonished and horrified by the rise in anti-Semitic harassment, incidents and violence targeting our communities,” Jonathan Greenblatt, who heads the ADL, said in a statement.

“While the tragedy in Charlottesville highlighted this trend, it was not an aberration. Every single day, white supremacists target members of the Jewish community—holding rallies in public, recruiting on college campuses, attacking journalists on social media, and even targeting young children,” he said.

The ADL also found anti-Semitic incidents in American schools are surging, with incidents in K-12 grade schools more than doubling compared to the same period in 2016 — vaulting from 130 last year to 269 this year.

“We are deeply troubled by the rising number of anti-Semitic incidents, bullying, and hate in our nation’s schools and we don’t think the statistics paint a full picture of what is happening,” Greenblatt said. “Many school-based incidents still go unreported. As a country, we have to do more to ensure that our schools remain places where students can learn safely without fearing bullying and hate.”

While US President Donald Trump was not named in the report, the ADL and others have accused him of failing to convincingly and consistently denounce white supremacists, who often bill themselves as his supporters.

After the Charlottesville violence, Trump blamed “both sides” for what unfolded and said there were “many fine people” marching with the neo-Nazis. At the time, Jewish congressman Jamie Raskin told The Times of Israel that kind of response would “invite repeated actions.”

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