Annual ADL report shows anti-Semitic acts have doubled since 2015.

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States soared in 2017, according to the annual report by the Anti-Defamation League.

There were 1,986 acts classified as anti-Semitic in 2017, up 57 percent from 2016 at 1,267 and more than double the 2015 total of 941.

Heidi Budaj
Heidi Budaj

“That 57 percent increase of incidents nationwide is the largest single-year increase on record and the second-highest number reported since ADL began tracking incident data in the 1970s,” said Heidi Budaj, ADL’s Michigan regional director. “For the first time, incidents occurred in all 50 states.”

However, included in the figures are the 160-plus bomb threats to Jewish community centers and Jewish institutions in the early part of 2017, which were discovered to be mainly carried out by a Jewish teenager in Israel.

Even without those threats, anti-Semitic incidents increased by 43 percent in 2017, with seven Jewish cemeteries vandalized, 19 anti-Jewish physical assaults and 457 non-Jewish elementary and high schools experiencing anti-Semitic incidents, compared to 235 in 2016 and 114 in 2015.

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“A confluence of events in 2017 led to a surge in attacks on our community — from bomb threats, cemetery desecrations, white supremacists marching in Charlottesville and children harassing children at school,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO and national director.

“These incidents came at a time when we saw a rising climate of incivility, the emboldening of hate groups and widening divisions in society. In reflecting on this time and understanding it better with this new data, we feel even more committed to our century-old mission to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all,” he added.

The states reporting the most anti-Semitic incidents were those with large Jewish populations, including New York, New Jersey and California.

Chart of anti-Semitism in Michigan showing an increase in vandalism and harassment from 2015 to 2017.“In Michigan, we have seen a steep increase in incidents involving vandalism and an overall increase of 13 percent in anti-Semitic incidents in 2017 over 2016,” Budaj said.

“Both nationally and locally, there has been a significant increase in incidents at schools and on college campuses, which nearly doubled for the second year in a row,” Budaj added. “Most telling and most disturbing is a 94 percent increase at K-12 schools in 2017.”

ADL Michigan offers anti-bias workshops in schools and workshops, giving students tools they need to stand up to anti-Semitism. “We are looking to increase resources to meet increased demand for our programs in Michigan schools,” Budaj said.

To report an anti-Semitic act, contact the ADL at adl.org/report-an-incident or call
(248) 353-7553.