Discussing Anti-Semitism: A Guide for Reflection and Conversation

  • May 12, 2020
A Guide for Reflection and Conversation

In 2019, ADL recorded 2,107 antisemitic incidents across the U.S., the highest number in the forty years that ADL has tracked such incidents. The record number of incidents came as the Jewish community grappled with vicious antisemitic attacks against communities in Poway, Jersey City and Monsey, and a spree of violent assaults in Brooklyn. This did not happen in a vacuum; a history of antisemitism in the United States and around the world built a foundation for this event to occur. The antisemitic myths and tropes used today echo the same myths and tropes used for the past thousand years or more. Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed towards Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

Antisemitism is not only about defaming and attacking the Jewish community; it’s a symptom of a larger issue. Those that hold ideologies of hatred against the Jewish people also hold dangerous ideologies that are harmful to other marginalized people and communities.

ADL recorded 2,107 antisemitic incidents in the U.S. in 2019, the highest number recorded since tracking began in 1979. This is a 12% increase from incidents reported in 2018. The Audit of Antisemitic Incidents accounts for assaults, vandalism and harassment, but we know that there are many unreported incidents of antisemitism, from jokes to microaggressions to internet posts that normalize antisemitic rhetoric and ideologies.  The annual audit of report incidents compiles data on assaults, vandalism and harassment. In 2019, ADL recorded events in every contiguous U.S. state, including the District of Columbia. The findings include 411 incidents in K-12 schools.

In order to better understand and unpack ADL’s audit on antisemitism, these discussion guides provide a way to initiate conversation about how antisemitism impacts both the Jewish community and the United States at large, and what we can do about it. These resources are intended to enable you to initiate conversations with your peers, colleagues, family and community about antisemitism and other forms of hate.

Download discussion guides below: