Antisemitic incidents have tripled in state since 2016.
The 2020 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents issued April 27 by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) shows cases of antisemitism in the state of Michigan rose by 21% in 2020, which continues a concerning trend of upward increases. Five years ago, ADL documented only 15 incidents in its annual audit; this year’s spike represents an increase of 240% since 2016, with 51 incidents total. The 51 incidents place Michigan at eighth-most in the country.
Michigan Regional Director Carolyn Normandin said the rise in antisemitism in Michigan is discouraging.
“This is the second year in a row that antisemitism was the highest ever recorded,” Normandin said. “Any incident of antisemitism is not OK, but when you see year-over-year double-digit increases, it’s very worrisome. For the longest time I’ve been concerned about people being comfortable with antisemitism, and that’s what we see here.”
ADL’s Audit classifies all incidents into three categories: assault, harassment and vandalism. Of the total incidents reported in 2020, there were 44 harassment incidents and seven vandalism incidents. There were no antisemitic assaults reported to the Michigan office in 2020, however.
Of the 51 incidents, 23 took place at Jewish institutions, 11 in public areas, five at business establishments, two at homes/housing, two at college/university campuses, one at a K-12 non-Jewish school and seven in the “other” category.
Antisemitic incidents remained at historically high levels across the United States in 2020, with a total of 2,024 national cases of assault, harassment or vandalism reported to ADL. National antisemitic incidents declined by 4% in 2020 (after hitting an all-time high in 2019), but it was the third-highest year for incidents against American Jews since ADL started tracking the data in 1979.
Other incidents of hate are also on the rise in the state of Michigan, with the ADL receiving more than 170 reports of hateful incidents during 2020, an increase of more than 40% from the previous year.
Last year was dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led in some cases to Jews and other marginalized communities, especially Asian Americans, being blamed or scapegoated for spreading the virus. This led to an increase in incidents of antisemitic “Zoom-bombing” — the intentional disruption of live videoconferences. In 2020, ADL recorded 12 incidents of antisemitic videoconferencing attacks in Michigan.
Normandin says it’s important for people to report these incidents because the data helps them know what they’re dealing with. Normandin also says calling the hate out, holding online platforms accountable to police themselves and create guidelines, and for people to know who they’re voting for are all crucial steps to help curb the hate.
“Use your voice in your community and make sure the ideologies of people in leadership roles in your community are not hateful,” Normandin said.