Record 3,700 antisemitic incidents reported in US in 2022, says ADL
Large increases recorded in attacks on Orthodox Jews, bomb threats, white supremacist propaganda and racism in schools, group’s annual audit finds
Luke Tress is an editor and a reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.
NEW YORK — There were a record 3,697 reported antisemitic incidents in the United States in 2022, according to an annual tally by the Anti-Defamation League released on Thursday.
The figure amounted to 10 incidents per day and represented a 36 percent jump over 2021, which was already a record year. The 2022 tally was the highest since the ADL started keeping records in 1979.
Incidents were reported in every state and the increase could not be attributed to any single cause or ideology, researchers said. Big increases were recorded in white supremacist propaganda activities, non-Jewish schools, college campuses, bomb threats and attacks against Orthodox Jews.
There were increases in each major category — harassment, vandalism and assault.
The ADL Center on Extremism found that harassment climbed 29% over 2021 to 2,298 incidents; vandalism jumped by 51% to 1,288 events; and physical assaults went up 26% to 111.
The assaults were defined as physical attacks on Jewish people, or those perceived to be Jewish, alongside evidence of antisemitism. Orthodox Jews, who are usually more recognizably Jewish, were disproportionately targeted, accounting for 53% of the victims, and close to 60% of the attacks took place in New York City, mostly the borough of Brooklyn. The vast majority of the attacks did not involve a deadly weapon.
In some of the assaults, neo-Nazis at a rally in Florida attacked a Jewish person while making antisemitic comments; an attacker shot a BB gun at a person in an Orthodox neighborhood in New York while shouting “Hey Jew”; an attacker caused serious injuries to four Orthodox Jews in an hours-long rampage in New Jersey; and an assailant in Los Angeles told a Jewish neighbor “you fuckers should have burned a long time ago” and shoved the victim.
There was one fatality — Arizona professor Thomas Meixner, who was targeted by an antisemitic attacker who believed Meixner was Jewish, even though he wasn’t.
Harassment included the use of antisemitic slurs, stereotypes, conspiracy theories and an apparently coordinated online campaign threatening and harassing Jewish institutions.
Swastikas were involved in 792 of the vandalism cases, a 37% jump over the previous year.
Antisemitic white supremacist propaganda incidents doubled to 852.
The states with the most incidents were those with large Jewish populations, led by New York with 580 instances, followed by California, New Jersey, Florida and Texas.
Jewish institutions including synagogues were targeted in 589 incidents, mostly in the form of harassment, a 12% increase over the previous year. The most high-profile attack was the hostage crisis at Colleyville in Texas. There were 91 bomb threats against Jewish institutions.
Antisemitic incidents at colleges and non-Jewish schools increased by 40%. The school incidents included the use of swastikas, such as drawing the hate symbol on paper and handing it to a Jewish student, as well as verbal antisemitic bullying and racist jokes. There was also vandalism including the messages “kill all Jews,” “Hitler was right,” and “Jews not welcome.”
College incidents included desecrating mezuzahs and vandalism that said “Jews did 9/11,” “Fuck Israel,” and “Kanye was right.” Twenty-five incidents targeted college Hillel centers. Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolutions were not counted in the data because they do not target individuals.
Antisemitic incidents connected to Israel or Zionism accounted for 241 events, or 6.5% of the total, a decline compared to 2021, when there was an unusually high number of such incidents related to the Gaza war that year. Dozens of incidents were carried out by people affiliated with the anti-Zionist activist groups Witness for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine. Legitimate anti-Israel political protests that did not target individuals or Jewish entities were not counted in the data.
Many of the anti-Zionist incidents occurred around college campuses. For example, a demonstrator at an Illinois Students for Justice in Palestine rally threw a rock at a Hillel building; two students at a New York public college were expelled from a sexual assault survivors support group over Zionism; a student wrote “death to Israel” and “heil Hitler” on a white board in another New York college; and at American University in Washington, DC someone wrote “Fuck Israel free Palestine” on a Jewish student’s door.
Celebrities were tied to dozens of incidents, including 59 connected to hip-hop star Kanye West, who now goes by Ye, and eight to NBA player Kyrie Irving. In one case, an attacker shouting “Fuck you, Jews” and “Kanye 2024” assaulted a Jewish man in New York City in December.
The ADL collated and evaluated reports from victims, law enforcement and community leaders. The tally includes both criminal and non-criminal acts. The ADL worked with partner organizations including the Community Security Initiative, the Community Security Service, Hillel International, Secure Community Network, the Union of Reform Judaism and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
ADL staff verified every incident to eliminate duplicates and remove spam. Most incidents were reported to the ADL directly, researchers said.
Some of the increase in reported incidents in recent years is likely due to different and improved reporting methods.
The rise in incidents comes as antisemitic beliefs climb in the US. An ADL survey released in January found that the number of Americans who believe antisemitic stereotypes has doubled since 2019 to the highest level in decades.
FBI data has indicated Jews are the religious minority most targeted in hate crimes in the US.