Jewish orgs decry ‘botched’ FBI hate crimes report understating antisemitic attacks
Approximately 4,000 agencies do not participate in study, with 35 major US cities -- including New York, Los Angeles and Miami -- not submitting any data
Prominent American-Jewish groups expressed growing alarm on Monday over a “botched” new FBI report into hate crimes across the US in 2021 that they said understated antisemitic attacks after “large swaths of data” were left out.
However, the organizations noted that even with a large number of attacks excluded, the reported data was “deeply alarming.”
There were 7,262 hate crime incidents reported in 2021, the third-highest number in a decade.
Anti-Jewish hate crimes comprised the largest percentage of religion-based hate crimes, despite the fact that a number of jurisdictions with high rates of attacks and reporting were not included in the report.
The Anti-Defamation League noted in a statement that there was a 22 percent decrease in the number of agencies reporting their data to the study, and that multiple large cities — including New York, Miami and Los Angeles, did not participate in the report.
The entire state of Florida and most of California also were not included.
The watchdog said the data suggested that if more jurisdictions had reported their figures for antisemitic attacks, the report “likely would have shown record-high numbers.”
“The failure by major states and cities across the country to report hate crime data essentially – and inexcusably – erases the lived experience of marginalized communities across the country,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO.
“Hate crimes tear at the fabric of our society and traumatize entire communities,” he said.
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) said approximately 4,000 agencies had not transitioned to a new data collection system and as a result, 35 major US cities “simply reported zero hate crimes.”
“The FBI report on hate crimes is among the most anticipated federal government documents. But its shortcomings undermine the gravity of the problem of hate in the United States,” said AJC CEO Ted Deutch.
Brandeis Center Chairman Kenneth Marcus said it was “appalling” that the FBI’s collection of data had been “so badly botched.”
“The 2021 hate crimes data is essentially useless. The problem is so bad that record-high levels of antisemitism appear in the official data as actual declines, because major jurisdictions didn’t formally report it,” Marcus said.
“This massive failure has undermined the purposes of hate crimes data precisely when we most need the data. If the FBI doesn’t quickly correct this problem, congressional committees will need to ask some serious questions,” he said.
The White House on Monday announced the establishment of an inter-agency committee aimed at combatting antisemitism, heeding calls from US lawmakers and leading American Jewish organizations who urged a “whole of government approach” to the intensifying phenomenon.
The decision came days after the White House hosted a round table meeting with executives from prominent Jewish groups who made the recommendation — the same one that was pushed by a bipartisan group of 125 House lawmakers in a letter to US President Joe Biden.
While Jewish groups have long called for more aggressive efforts to address antisemitism, the issue received national attention last month after former president Donald Trump hosted at his Mar-a-Lago resort Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes and Kanye West, just weeks after the rapper lost a series of business deals over antisemitic posts he made on social media.
Trump has refused to condemn the pair, who days after their dinner appeared on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s radio show, with West using the opportunity to repeatedly express his praise for Hitler and the Nazis.
West proceeded to get suspended from Twitter after posting a picture that showed a swastika interlaced with a Star of David, just weeks after new owner Elon Musk allowed the rapper back on the platform. West had been suspended for posting antisemitic threats.
Musk’s Twitter announced Monday it has dissolved its Trust and Safety Council, the advisory group of around 100 independent civil, human rights and other organizations that the company formed in 2016 to address hate speech, child exploitation, suicide, self-harm and other problems on the platform.
Jacob Magid and agencies contributed to this report.