Audit of Antisemitic Incidents: Year in Review 2020

In 2020, ADL recorded 2,024 antisemitic incidents in the United States. While antisemitic incidents declined by 4 percent after hitting an all-time high in 2019, last year was the third-highest year for incidents against American Jews since ADL started tracking this data in 1979.

Incidents remained at historically high levels amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As lockdowns related to the pandemic began in March, incidents in schools and on college campuses decreased as learning moved online. “Zoombombing”—the intentional disruption of live videoconferences—rose significantly in 2020.  ADL recorded 196 incidents of antisemitic videoconferencing attacks last year, of which 114 targeted Jewish institutions such as schools and synagogues.  

Major Findings:  

In 2020, ADL counted a total of 2,024 antisemitic incidents across the U.S., a 4% percent decrease from the 2,107 incidents recorded in 2019.  

 


ADL’s Audit classifies all incidents into three categories: assault, harassment and vandalism. Of the total incidents reported in 2020:   

Harassment: There were 1,242 harassment incidents, cases where one or more Jews reported having been harassed by antisemitic language or actions. Acts of harassment increased by 10 percent from 1,127 in 2019.

Vandalism: There were 751 vandalism incidents, cases where property was damaged in a manner which that harmed or intimidated Jews. Swastikas, which are generally interpreted as symbols of antisemitic hatred, were present in 517 of these incidents. Acts of antisemitic vandalism decreased 18 percent, from 919 incidents in 2019.

Assault: There were 31 assault incidents, cases where individuals were physically targeted with violence accompanied by evidence of antisemitic animus. Antisemitic assault decreased by 49 percent from 61 in 2019. The assaults involved a total of 41 victims. No antisemitic fatalities were reported for the first year since 2017.

The Audit of Antisemitic Incidents is a deep dive into these incidents and the data on what they reveal about antisemitism in America during this extraordinary year.

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