Preliminary ADL Data Reveals Uptick in Antisemitic Incidents Linked to Recent Mideast Violence

Dozens of anti-Israel protests; 17,000+ tweets of “Hitler was right” and increase in antisemitic incident reports

New York, NY, May 20, 2021 … ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) today released preliminary data from our Center on Extremism revealing an increase in online and real-world incidents of antisemitism in the United States since the most recent outbreak of violence between Israel and Hamas.

“As the violence between Israel and Hamas continues to escalate, we are witnessing a dangerous and drastic surge in anti-Jewish hate right here at home,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “We are tracking acts of harassment, vandalism and violence as well as a torrent of online abuse. It’s happening around the world— from London to Los Angeles, from France to Florida, in big cities like New York and in small towns, and across every social media platform.”

ADL has documented disturbing antisemitism on multiple platforms -- from Facebook and Twitter to TikTok and Instagram – with messages including explicit praise for Hitler, promoting tropes about Jewish control and demonizing all Jews. Extreme antisemitic and anti-Zionist content can be found across a wide variety of channels calling for the destruction of the Jewish state, including posts that state: “GAS THE KIKES RACE WAR NOW.”

An analysis of Twitter in the days following the recent outbreak of violence showed more than 17,000 tweets which used variations of the phrase, “Hitler was right” between May 7 and May 14, 2021. ADL has also seen an increase in on-the-ground activity that demonizes Israel and that has crossed at times into antisemitism.

ADL’s Center on Extremism has documented dozens of anti-Israel protests in the U.S. since the violence in Israel began, and more are planned.

While the majority of protesters have stayed within the lines of free and civil discourse, we have seen some expressions of clear antisemitism at these events, including:

  • Signs that invoke the age-old antisemitic accusation that Jews are responsible for killing Jesus;
  • Holocaust analogies that demonize Zionists

ADL has also received more reports of possible antisemitic incidents since the conflict broke out in Israel, with 193 reports in the week after the crisis began, up from 131 the previous week.

Some examples include:

  • Videos posted on Twitter appear to show at least one Jewish individual being beaten in Los Angeles, and Jews being intimidated on the street by individuals in cars carrying Palestinian flags.
  • A group of about twenty pro-Palestinian demonstrators chanted "Intifada!" and "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" across the street from the Temple Beth Israel synagogue in Skokie, IL. 

“To those who choose to indulge in age-old antisemitic tropes, exaggerated claims and inflammatory rhetoric, it has consequences: attacks in real life on real people targeted for no other reason than they are Jewish,” said Greenblatt. “This is antisemitism, plain and simple. And it’s indisputably inexcusable in any context.”

“ADL remains steadfast in its commitment to fight antisemitism and hate with every ounce of energy we have,” Greenblatt continued. “We are working actively with authorities in cities across the country to identify the perpetrators of hate and to protect our community. We call on leaders throughout our country to speak out against antisemitism and stand alongside the Jewish community in the face of this wave of hate before it gets any worse.”

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of antisemitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of antisemitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.

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