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25 Oct, 2023 19:40

Surge in US anti-Semitism recorded – lobby group

The Anti-Defamation League claims there has been a 388% rise since October 7
Surge in US anti-Semitism recorded – lobby group

Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States have surged by close to 400% in the weeks following the outbreak of war in the Middle East, according to the Jewish advocacy group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

“When conflict erupts in Israel, antisemitic incidents soon follow,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement posted to the company’s website on Tuesday.

“From white supremacists in California displaying antisemitic banners on highway overpasses to radical anti-Zionists harassing Jewish people because of their real or perceived support for the Jewish state, we are witnessing a disturbing rise in antisemitic activity here while the war rages overseas,” Greenblatt added.

According to preliminary data released by the ADL, incidents of harassment, vandalism, and assault targeting Jewish people increased by 388% between October 7 and 23, compared to the same period last year. This translates, the group says, to 312 anti-Semitic incidents between those dates, compared to 64 in 2022.

Of the anti-Semitic reports received by the ADL in the past few weeks, it said that 190 of them were directly linked to the war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. It added that these incidents ranged from physical assault to violent and harassing online messages – particularly via the messaging app Telegram.

On October 7, Hamas launched a large-scale offensive in Israel, which killed about 1,400 people, most of them civilians. Upwards of 200 hostages were also seized in the operation. In response, Israel has launched an unprecedented aerial bombardment of the under-siege enclave ahead of a potential ground offensive.

In addition to what it claims is an uptick in anti-Semitism since the start of the renewed conflict between Israel and Hamas earlier this month, the ADL also believes that anti-Jewish sentiment has been growing in the US, even in the months before the war. It said that close to 3,700 incidents of anti-Semitism were recorded in 2022, the most of any year since it began collecting data in 1979.

The US Justice Department has indicated that it is aware of and is monitoring rising levels of threats against Jews and Muslims since October 7. President Joe Biden has condemned both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.