New York, NY, June 22, 2016 … The number of violent anti-Semitic assaults taking place in the United States rose dramatically last year, contributing to a three (3) percent rise in the total number of anti-Jewish incidents reported in 2015, according to new data from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
ADL’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, issued today, recorded a total of 941 incidents in the U.S. in 2015, an increase of about 3 percent from the 912 incidents recorded in 2014.
Fifty-six incidents were assaults, the most violent anti-Semitic category – representing a more than 50 percent rise from the 36 assaults reported in 2014.
Another troubling finding: anti-Semitic incidents at colleges and universities nearly doubled last year. A total of 90 incidents were reported on 60 college campuses in 2015, compared with 47 incidents on 43 campuses in 2014.
Campus anti-Semitic incidents accounted for 10 percent of the total incidents reported in the U.S. in 2015.
“We are disturbed that violent anti-Semitic incidents are rising,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “And we know that for every incident reported, there’s likely another that goes unreported. So even as the total incidents have remained statistically steady from year to year, the trend toward anti-Semitic violence is very concerning.”
Overall, anti-Semitic incident totals in the U.S. are historically low, according to ADL, which has been keeping track of anti-Semitic incidents since 1979. During the last decade, the number of reported anti-Semitic incidents peaked at 1,554 in 2006 and has been mostly on the decline ever since.
“The good news is the number of anti-Semitic incidents overall are much lower than we witnessed in the mid-2000s,” said Marvin D. Nathan, ADL National Chair. “While that decrease is encouraging, it is troubling that on average there is one anti-Semitic assault reported in this country every week, and at least two anti-Jewish incidents on average every single day. These numbers do not even account for all of the online harassment we see every hour on social media, which is so widespread it is difficult to quantify.”
ADL witnessed an explosion of hate online, especially on social media platforms in 2015. While the Audit includes incidents of online anti-Semitism reported to ADL in which an individual or institution is explicitly targeted, it does not count general anti-Semitic expressions online.
“Online hate is particularly disturbing because of the ubiquity of social media and its deep penetration into our daily lives, plus the anonymity offered by certain platforms which facilitates this phenomenon,” Mr. Greenblatt said. “The issue has grown exponentially in recent years because the Internet provides racists and bigots with an outlet to reach a potential audience of millions. We plan to adapt future versions of the Audit to account for such online harassment.”
ADL has been monitoring the recent spike on such harassment, which seems to have corresponded to the political season, with a large amount of this vitriol directed at journalists and other public figures. ADL recently launched a Task Force on Online Harassment and Journalism to investigate the issue of anti-Semitism directed at journalists through social media and to develop recommendations on how to respond to it. Advisors to this group include thought leaders from academia, industry, journalism, law enforcement and non-governmental organizations. The Task Force will report publicly on its findings and recommendations in the next three months.
In 2015, anti-Semitic incidents were reported in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Those incidents are categorized in the ADL Audit as follows:
Continuing a consistent trend for many years, the states with the highest totals of anti-Semitic incidents were those with large Jewish populations. Once again, New York and California topped the list:
The complete list of state-by-state figures is available on the League’s web site.
ADL reported a total of 56 anti-Semitic assaults on Jewish individuals (or individuals perceived as Jewish) in 2015, up from 36 in 2014. Incidents involved the use of physical force and/or violence, spitting and thrown objects. Forty-four of the 56 assault incidents (79 percent) were reported in New York State.
The following is a list of selected instances of anti-Semitic assaults in 2015:
The ADL Audit reported a dramatic increase in anti-Semitic incidents on campus in 2015. A total of 90 incidents were reported on 60 college campuses, compared with 47 such incidents reported on 43 campuses in 2014.
“Despite the increase in anti-Semitic incidents on campus, such incidents are still relatively rare and the vast majority of Jewish students report feeling safe on their campuses,” said Mr. Greenblatt. “When such incidents do occur, they are generally condemned by administrators and the wider campus communities at their respective colleges.”
The following is a list of selected anti-Jewish incidents that took place on campuses in 2015:
The ADL Audit recorded 377 cases of anti-Semitic vandalism in 2015, up slightly from 363 in 2014. Vandalism incidents are individually evaluated by ADL and are categorized as anti-Semitic based on the presence of anti-Semitic symbols or language; the identity of the perpetrator(s), if known; and the target of the vandalism and its proximity to Jewish homes, communities and institutions.
The 2015 Audit includes in its totals swastikas and hate symbols that targeted Jewish property or communal institutions. Swastikas targeting other minorities or those used out of context simply for shock value were not counted.
The following is a list of selected instances of anti-Semitic vandalism in 2015:
The ADL Audit recorded 508 cases of anti-Semitic harassment in 2015, down slightly from 513 in 2014. Incidents included verbal attacks and slurs against Jewish individuals (or individuals perceived to be Jewish); anti-Semitism conveyed in written or electronic communications, including anti-Semitic cyberbullying; and anti-Semitic speeches, picketing or events.
The following is a list of selected instances of anti-Semitic harassment in 2015:
The Audit identifies both criminal and non-criminal acts of harassment and intimidation, including distribution of hate propaganda, threats and slurs. Compiled using information provided by victims, law enforcement and community leaders and evaluated by ADL’s professional staff, the Audit provides an annual snapshot of one specific aspect of a nationwide problem while identifying possible trends or changes in the types of activity reported. This information assists ADL in developing and enhancing its programs to counter and prevent the spread of anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.