New York, NY, June 1, 2022 – The white supremacist shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo was the latest example of a broad and troubling trend of rising extremism in New York State, according to a new report issued today by the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) Center on Extremism and the Community Security Initiative (CSI).
The report, “Hate in the Empire State: Extremism & Antisemitism in New York” presents a disturbing snapshot of increasing extremism in the state, bolstered in part by widespread campaigns of disinformation and conspiracy theories.
ADL and CSI praised New York Gov. Kathy Hochul for the significant steps she announced on May 18 to track violent extremism online. In light of the report’s findings, both groups urged the government and state leaders to pursue additional actions, including the establishment of a formal commission on antisemitism and increasing funding for New York’s Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Grant Program.
The report examines extremist and antisemitic trends and incidents across New York from January 2020 to December 2021 with a primary focus on organized extremist movements present in the state but also provides greater detail on New York State’s position as the state with the greatest number of antisemitic incidents in the United States in 2021. This included 51 assaults motivated by anti-Jewish bias, the highest number ever recorded by ADL in New York.
Significantly, the report identifies the presence of white supremacists, anti-government extremists, militias, Islamist extremists, violent anti-Zionists and others who are either based in New York or have targeted the state for an attack. It also uncovers various conspiracy theories that have animated extremists across the state, and led some, like the Buffalo shooter, to commit violent acts.
“Our report, which was in the works well before the attack in Buffalo, sheds light on the myriad factors that have led to a serious and disturbing increase in hate in the Empire State,” said Scott Richman, ADL New York/New Jersey Regional Director. “As someone who was on the ground in Buffalo in the days since the attack, it pains me deeply to see how our Black neighbors have suffered from this extremism. Now we have an opportunity to urge our lawmakers and community leaders to take action to stop hateful, violent acts from re-occurring in our state.”
“New York has always been a symbol of diversity and openness, but the Buffalo shooting is a reminder that there is a dark undercurrent of extremism in the Empire State, and we need to shine a light into those dark corners,” said Mitch Silber, executive director at the Community Security Initiative. “Unfortunately, almost all of the indicators we use to monitor hate and extremism directed at Jewish New Yorkers are on the rise. This report illuminates that we need to be clear-eyed about the level of hateful activity both on the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan as well as among organized extremist groups in other parts of New York State.”
The ADL-CSI report identifies several disturbing trends that show a rising level of hate in New York State:
- Hate crimes have increased significantly in New York City, up 196 percent from 2020 to 2021. And Jews were the most targeted group in the city, accounting for 40 percent of hate crimes. New York State continues to lead the nation in antisemitic incidents, with a 24 percent increase in 2021.
- The report also describes the spike in antisemitic incidents driven by extreme anti-Israel sentiments during the May 2021 Israel-Hamas war. During this time, incidents motivated by anti-Zionist sentiments included assault, arson threats, and harassment.
- New York had the fourth highest number of people arrested for the Capitol insurrection. To date, 58 New York State residents have been arrested and charged for their participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection in Washington, D.C., and the list of those charged includes avowed white supremacists, members of antigovernment groups and QAnon adherents.
- New York ranks 7th in the country for white supremacist propaganda efforts, with recent actions carried out by organized hate groups including Patriot Front, New Jersey European Heritage Association and White Lives Matter.
- New York-based anti-government extremists are responsible for threatening elected officials and government institutions. The state is home to a handful of militia chapters, including New York Watchmen and Oath Keepers, who have engaged in violence as well as local and national protests.
The ongoing threat of extremist activity in New York State also includes a threat of violent extremism from foreign terrorist organizations, Islamist extremists and racially motivated violent extremists, all of whom promote antisemitic worldviews and regularly incite violence, targeting Jewish synagogues and community buildings.
The report urges elected officials, law enforcement and the Jewish to take a series of steps to address rising extremism and the increasing threat of domestic violent extremism. ADL and CSI called on state officials and the governor to double funding to New York Hate Crimes Grant Program from $25 to $50 million to fund approximately 1,000 projects across the state and to launch a commission on antisemitism that views the issue from the lenses of civil rights, intelligence, and law enforcement, and to create recommendations for comprehensive, whole-of-government responses to the challenge.
ADL is the leading anti-hate organization in the world. Founded in 1913, its timeless mission is “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of antisemitism and bias, using innovation and partnerships to drive impact. A global leader in combating antisemitism, countering extremism and battling bigotry wherever and whenever it happens, ADL works to protect democracy and ensure a just and inclusive society for all.
The work of ADL’s Center on Extremism is supported, in part, by the ADL Lewy Family Institute for Combatting Antisemitism, the David Berg Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, the Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundations, the Klarman Family Foundation, the Morton H. Meyerson Family Foundation/Marlene Nathan Meyerson Family Foundation, Charles and Mildred Schnurmacher Foundation, The Nancy K. Silverman Foundation, The Tepper Foundation, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and the Zegar Family Foundation.