Hate in the Golden State: Extremism & Antisemitism in California, 2021-2022

Hate in the Golden State

In June 2022, members of the White Lives Matter (WLM) California chapter demonstrated outside of the Sacramento Children’s Museum in Rancho Cordova, CA. (Source: Telegram)

Hate in the Golden State Extremism & Antisemitism in California: 2021-2022


Over the past two years, California has dealt with a significant increase in extremist activity driven by a variety of factors, including increased collaboration between small white supremacist and antisemitic networks, as well as continued activity by extremist groups such as the Proud Boys and Rise Above Movement, particularly as they turned their attention toward the LGBTQ+ community. The state is home to the country’s highest number of extremist-related murders and plots and has seen numerous incidents of political violence.

California has also seen a significant increase in antisemitic incidents over the last two years, becoming the state with the country’s second-highest number of antisemitic incidents at a time when ADL tracked the highest-ever number of antisemitic incidents nationwide.

This report will explore the range of extremist groups and movements operating in California and highlight the key extremist and antisemitic trends and incidents in the state throughout 2021 and 2022. It also includes especially noteworthy events and incidents from 2023.

​Key Statistics

  • Extremist Plots and Murders: In 2021 and 2022, ADL documented six extremist-related murders in California, as well as one terrorist plot instigated by two men associated with the Three Percenter wing of the militia movement.
  • Antisemitic Incidents: According to ADL’s annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, California has seen a dramatic rise in antisemitic incidents in recent years. In 2022, the number of incidents increased 41% from 2021 levels, rising from 367 to 518.
  • Extremist Events: In 2021 and 2022, ADL documented 20 white supremacist events in California, including banner drops, flash demonstrations, training events, fight nights, protests, rallies and meetings.
  • White Supremacist Propaganda: In 2022, ADL documented 296 instances of white supremacist propaganda distributions across California, a 91% increase from 2021 (155). The groups responsible for the majority of incidents were Patriot Front and the Goyim Defense League (GDL).
  • Hate Crime Statistics: According to the latest FBI hate crime statistics for 2021, there were 1,765 reported hate crimes incidents in California, an increase of 33% from the 1,330 incidents recorded in 2020.
  • Insurrection Statistics: Sixty-one of the 948 individuals charged in relation to the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol are residents of California, according to data compiled by the George Washington University Program on Extremism. Among them: Ashli Babbitt, the QAnon supporter who was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer.
  • ADL and Princeton’s Bridging Divides Initiative Threats and Harassment Dataset: The Threats and Harassment Dataset (THD) includes 400 unique incidents of threats and harassment against local U.S. officials between January 1, 2020 and September 23, 2022 in three policy areas (election, education and health). California has the highest incidence (64) of threats and harassment against local officials and was one of seven states that recorded more incidents than expected based on population.
Hate in the Golden State


ADL’s 2022 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents documented the highest number of antisemitic incidents since reporting began in 1979, with more than 3,697 acts of assault, vandalism and harassment nationwide, a 36% increase from 2021. With 518, California reported the second-highest number of antisemitic incidents in 2022, following only New York. Instances of vandalism increased by 32% (178 incidents in 2022, compared to 135 in 2021), while harassment increased by 51 percent (327 incidents in 2022, compared to 217 in 2021). Similarly, trailing only New York, California saw the second-highest number of antisemitic assaults (13) in the nation, a slight decrease from the 15 recorded in 2021 but still a 225% increase from the 4 assaults recorded in 2020.

  • In November 2022, a visibly Jewish person in Northridge, was allegedly attacked by a group of individuals who punched him in the face, told him to take off his kippah and asked him how he felt about Ye.
  • In November 2022, in Los Angeles, someone called a Jewish-owned restaurant, asked for “the Kanye special” and then said, “Death to all the Jews.”
  • In October 2022, members of the Goyim Defense League (GDL) displayed banners over a highway overpass in Los Angeles that read “Kanye is right about the jews [sic]” and “Honk if you know.”
  • In May 2022 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Students for Justice in Palestine held an event featuring a drawing that plays into the historic antisemitic idea that Jews control Hollywood.
  • In May 2022, a Jewish student testified before the University of California Regents that Jewish students on campus were sent hateful messages of "f***ing Jews," "give the Palestinians back their land" and "go back to Poland or whatever freezer state you're from."
  • In February 2022, a description for a webinar on Jewish-Muslim relations organized by Hatem Bazian, a University of California, Berkeley lecturer and American Muslims for Palestine chairman, claimed “wealthy American Jews” use their resources to promote “Islamophobia as a way to protect and maintain unconditional support for Israel in the US.” The description was later rewritten.
  • In January 2022, a Holocaust memorial inside the Santa Rosa Memorial Park cemetery in Santa Rosa, was toppled, destroying the structure.
  • In September 2021, a Jewish student in San Diego was harassed on multiple occasions by a classmate who made antisemitic and anti-Israel statements which escalated into a physical altercation.

On May 10, 2021, fighting broke out between Israel and Hamas with heightened tensions and violence on the streets of some Israeli cities with large Arab and Jewish populations. That month, ADL tabulated 387 antisemitic incidents in the U.S., the lion’s share of which (297) took place between May 10 – the official start of military action – and May 31, for an increase of 141% over the same period in 2020 (123).

The perpetrators of many of these incidents explicitly referred to the conflict between Israel and Hamas. When incidents with explicit references to Israel or Zionism are excluded, the number of incidents still increased nationwide by 46% in the 20-day period of May 10-31, 2021, compared to the same period in 2020.

  • On May 21, 2021, two Orthodox Jewish boys were shot at with a paintball gun in the driveway of their home in Los Angeles. The younger child was hit in the chest with one of the paintballs.
  • On May 18, 2021, patrons at a Los Angeles restaurant were attacked by individuals who arrived in cars carrying Palestinian flags and said, “You should be ashamed of yourselves” after the customers confirmed they were Jewish. The Palestinian supporters pushed one of the victims to the ground and kicked him. Soon after, a brawl erupted, and subsequent news reports indicated the attackers also hurled anti-Jewish slurs.

While outside the timeframe of this report, the deeply concerning increase in antisemitic incidents in California was punctuated by the shootings of two Jewish men in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles in February 2023, highlighting the importance of combating antisemitic conspiracies and tropes which were allegedly a factor motivating the shooter to violence.

Hate in the golden State

Notable Extremist Activity

In 2021 and 2022, white supremacist and antisemitic groups increased their inter-group collaboration and their propaganda distribution in California

Over the past two years in California, small white supremacist and antisemitic groups frequently collaborated, leading to  increased white supremacist propaganda distributions and more robust participation in flash demonstrations, banner drops and coordinated group training sessions. This trend has been driven by crossover between the Goyim Defense League (GDL), Active Clubs and the White Lives Matter network (WLM).

In 2022, the virulently antisemitic GDL escalated their activity across the nation, paying particular attention to California. The network more than doubled their propaganda distributions from the previous year and the vast majority of their 2022 propaganda distributions took place in California (92). In March and May 2022, individuals associated with GDL and Clockwork Crew (aka Crew 562, a Southern California-based, fitness focused neo-Nazi group), drove around Southern California in moving vans draped with antisemitic propaganda.  GDL leader Jon Minadeo moved from California to Florida in 2022, but GDL activity continues across California.

Hate in the Golden State

In March 2022, members of GDL and Clockwork Crew drove this U-Haul van draped with antisemitic propaganda around Southern California. (Source: Telegram)

California is also home to two of the most prominent white supremacist Active Clubs, due in part to the state’s historic ties to the Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.) and its leader Robert Rundo, who was recently arrested in Romania and is being extradited to the U.S. to face trial on federal rioting charges stemming from his alleged role in a series of violent extremist rallies in 2017.

The SoCal and NorCal Active Clubs distribute white supremacist propaganda and host in-person events, mixed-martial arts (MMA) tournaments and training sessions. On August 20, 2022, Active Club members traveled from across the United States to participate in a fight night in San Diego hosted by the SoCal Active Club. Approximately 50 individuals attended the fight, including members of Active Clubs, Patriot Front, R.A.M. and allegedly, the Hammerskins. Prominent leaders in the movement have since stated that this event will serve as the foundation for similar tournaments moving forward.

Active Clubs have increasingly targeted the LGBTQ+ community. On March 10, 2023, the NorCal Active Club, along with other white supremacist groups, participated in an anti-LGBTQ+ protest event in Sacramento. During the event, members of NorCal Active Club and other white supremacists clashed with counter-protesters, resulting in at least three assaults reported to police.

Hatr in the Golden State

Image from the fight night in San Diego, CA hosted by the SoCal Active Club on August 20, 2022, which drew participants from across the country. (Source: Hyphen Report, a white supremacist publication)

Meanwhile, the White Lives Matter (WLM) network remains quite active, with California chapters participating in monthly “Days of Action” during which supporters engage in “pro-white activism” including propaganda distributions, banner drops and flash demonstrations. The WLM network in California also protests LGBTQ+ events, including a June 2022 protest of a family-friendly Pride event at the Sacramento Children’s Museum in Rancho Cordova, where WLM supporters held a banner that read “Groomers are not welcome in California.”

There is significant overlap between California Active Club members and the California WLM network. On January 9, 2022, the SoCal Active Club met up with WLM to host a joint fitness event. Only a few months later, on April 23, 2022, at least seven individuals associated with WLM and SoCal Active Club participated in a banner drop in Costa Mesa. The groups hung two banners over a highway overpass reading “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children” and “Honk if white lives matter.” While this sort of nationwide, collaborative effort between extremist groups is not unprecedented, it does indicate that the two groups are becoming increasingly active in their opposition to perceived "threats" to white people and are willing to work together to send a message.

Hate in the Golden State

Banner drop in Walnut Creek, CA conducted by the White Lives Matter (WLM) California chapter in November 2022. (Source: Twitter)

Over the last two years, California has experienced a high level of extremist-related violence

In 2021 and 2022, California had the most extremist murders (six) in the nation. These incidents include a murder committed by an individual described as having white supremacist affiliations, two murders committed by a member of a white supremacist prison gang, a murder perpetrated by a member of a white supremacist street gang and two QAnon-related murders. There were also several notable plots and attacks within the state.

Most of the extremist-related murders in California were linked to white supremacists:

  • On April 22, 2022, Richard Raymond Klein, a validated member of the white supremacist prison gang Nazi Low Riders, shot and killed a man in Fairfield during an apparent argument. Eight months later, after being released on bail, Klein reportedly committed a second murder in Suisun City. Klein was apprehended in Mexico in early 2023 and returned to the U.S. The motive for the second murder is not currently known.
  • On March 15, 2022, Jeremy Wayne Jones and Christina Lyn Garner were arrested on murder and hate crime charges after allegedly shooting a Black man at a gas station in Tracy. Jones – who was allegedly out on parole at the time of the killing – and Garner were described by authorities as having white supremacist affiliations that include “support of Nazi, white pride, racist skinhead, and Aryan Brotherhood” groups. A third man, Christopher Dimenco, was charged as being an accessory.
  • On April 13, 2021, Brandon Engelman was arrested after allegedly fatally shooting a man in Fresno following a long feud. Engelman, according to law enforcement, is a member of the Fresnecks, a local white supremacist street gang.

The rise of QAnon has also been a notable driver of violence in California over the last two years. Supporters were responsible for at least three violent attacks – including two murders – in the state between 2021 and 2022:

  • In October 2022, Paul Pelosi, the husband of then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was attacked inside the couple’s San Francisco home. The suspect, David DePape, operated several extremist blogs, where he posted a range of antisemitic, anti-government and conspiratorial content and had expressed support for QAnon.
  • In August 2021, Matthew Taylor Coleman allegedly killed his 2-year-old son and 10-month-old daughter after taking them from their home in Santa Barbara and driving them to Rosarito, Mexico. Court documents indicate Coleman told federal agents that he had become “enlightened” by conspiracy theories related to QAnon and that he believed his wife possessed “serpent DNA,” claiming he killed his two children to prevent them from becoming “monsters.” He was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of foreign first-degree murder of United States nationals in September 2021.
  • In May 2021, Rory Michael Banks broke into Ralph Mendez’s home and shot him to death. Authorities say Banks targeted Mendez because he was a registered sex offender and was one of four men on his “kill list.” Banks reportedly had a ‘Q’ sticker on the back of his vehicle and adhered to numerous conspiracy theories. He was sentenced to 60 years to life in prison in November 2022.

In addition to extremist-related murders, extremists in California also carried out several notable acts of violence and planned credible plots.

  • From December 13, 2022, to February 21, 2023, people detonated at least seven pipe bombs around Fresno, one of which destroyed a Fresno County Probation Department vehicle. In March 2023, five individuals were arrested in connection with the bombings. Scott Anderson, the individual cited by law enforcement as the primary suspect in the bombings, allegedly possessed a significant collection of white supremacist memorabilia. Authorities also seized 11 illegal firearms, ammunition and methamphetamine from Anderson. The other suspects in the case face various charges including possession of bomb-making equipment, guns and methamphetamine. At this time, it remains unclear whether the bombings were motivated by extremist ideology.
  • In July 2021, Ian Benjamin Rogers, of Napa, and Jarrod Copeland, of Vallejo, were arrested on charges related to a plot to bomb the Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento. The two men planned to carry out their attack after President Biden’s inauguration in hopes it “might start a movement to overthrow the government.” Court documents allege Copeland was an active member of a Three Percenters group, and Rogers' attorney said his client was a member of the III% United Patriots. Rogers and Copeland were sentenced to nine years and four-and-a-half years, respectively, in March 2023.

The Proud Boys remain active in California, targeting LGBTQ+ events, providing security at right-wing events and clashing with counter-protesters

In 2021 and 2022, the Proud Boys embraced local autonomy, shifting away from centralized direction in response to its leadership being prosecuted for their role in the January 6 Capitol attack. In California, local chapters organized around contentious public debates, using school board meetings and events organized by perceived adversaries as venues to leverage, and in some cases violently express, their extremist views. 

In 2022, the Proud Boys focused much of their activity in California on the baseless narrative that members of the LGBTQ+ community are "grooming" children.

Transphobia has been a part of the group's ideology since its founding and California chapters have regularly conducted anti-LGBTQ+ activity; they allegedly had a role in violence at "Straight Pride" events in Modesto in 2020, 2021 and 2022

Over the last two years, however, the group's primary anti-LGBTQ+ activities have revolved around the targeting of drag queen story hours. The Proud Boys’ threats have caused the disruption of story hours, as well as cancellations and postponements.

  • On March 23, 2023, the Roseville Joint Union School District board meeting was adjourned early after Proud Boy Jeffery Perrine spouted baseless rhetoric that members of the LGBTQ+ community are "pedophile groomers." Perrine also encouraged meeting participants to join him for his second visit to the home of a local pastor who founded an LGBTQ+ youth organization. According to The Citrus Heights Police Department, Perrine did show up to the pastor's home after the meeting where he was arrested and given a citation, but then released. 
  • On June 30, 2022, alleged Proud Boys affiliates attempted to storm Mojo’s Lounge & Bar in Woodland, even though the drag event scheduled for that evening had already been cancelled due to the group’s threats of violence. 
  • On June 11, 2022, at least 10 members of the Proud Boys disrupted a drag queen story hour at the San Lorenzo library, shouting homophobic and transphobic slurs at the event organizer. One of the Proud Boys who disrupted the story hour wore a t-shirt displaying an image of an assault rifle alongside the phrase, "kill your local pedophile." The Alameda County Sheriff's Office opened a hate crimes investigation into the incident. 
  • In July 2021, on two separate occasions, far-right activists, including Proud Boys associates, protested a Los Angeles spa’s gender inclusive policies and violently clashed with counter-protesters. At the first protest on July 3, 2021, two people were stabbed, and at the second protest on July 18, 2021, police arrested dozens of people.  
Hate in the Golden State

Members of the Proud Boys storming a drag queen story hour held at the San Lorenzo Library on June 11, 2022, captured on a cell phone camera by an event attendee. (Source: NBC Bay Area – KNTV)

Additional Extremist Activity

Anti-Government Extremism

Sovereign citizens remain active across California, hosting seminars to spread their conspiratorial, anti-government ideas and occasionally running into legal trouble.

  • In July 2022, three sovereign citizens were arrested after police found ammunition and explosives in a vehicle they were driving and at their remote compound in Johnson Valley.
  • In January 2022, a sovereign citizen was arrested after he fled from a police patrol boat trying to stop him for illegal mooring.
  • In April 2021, two Moorish sovereign citizens were charged for filing false liens against the properties of several court and law enforcement officials in retaliation for a 2019 drug smuggling case.
  • Popular sovereign citizen gurus Bobby Lawrence and David Straight held three seminars in California in 2022, attracting hundreds of attendees.

In addition to sovereign citizens, California also experienced militia activity, including:

  • The California State Militia hosted numerous trainings and recruitment events across the state throughout 2021 and 2022. In July 2022, members of the group traveled to Mariposa County to help residents displaced by the Oak Fire, providing food and helping to evacuate livestock. The militia’s presence upset some local residents, who accused the group of exploiting the disaster to recruit new members. In 2021, the militia participated in at least four protests against Covid-19 mandates in Ceres, Merced and Modesto.
  • Several California-based Three Percenters have been charged for crimes motivated by a desire to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. As detailed earlier in this report, two men associated with the Three Percenter movement were arrested for plotting to bomb the Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento in July 2021. One month earlier, in June, six California men, four of whom identified as members of Three Percenter-linked militias, were indicted for conspiracy over their role in the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection. The indictment alleges the men coordinated their travel to Washington, D.C. with the intent of disrupting the certification of the electoral college vote. One of the indicted men, Derek Kinnison, is also a member of the Oath Keepers, according to NBC News.
  • According to a published database, 3,077 California residents have paid membership dues to the Oath Keepers since the group’s founding in 2009. A Center on Extremism analysis of this information found this list included four individuals holding or running for public office, 24 individuals believed to be active members of law enforcement, 12 individuals believed to be active members of the military and nine individuals believed to currently be first responders.    

In 2020, California resident and boogaloo supporter Steven Carrillo carried out two shootings in Northern California that killed two law enforcement officers and injured three others, and in June 2022, he was sentenced to 41 years in prison. Though Carrillo’s attack was the most prominent act of violence linked with the movement, other boogaloo supporters in the state have been arrested for criminal activity over the last two years.  

  • In November 2022, Pasadena resident Isaac Aaron Loftus was arrested for allegedly brandishing a loaded “ghost gun” near a Los Angeles high school.  He was subsequently charged in January 2023 with one count of possession of a machine gun after searches produced a toolbox containing the upper and lower receiver of an AR-style rifle, ammunition and auto sears -- a device that transforms a semi-automatic firearm into a fully automatic weapon. According to the charging documents, Loftus’s holster had boogaloo symbols on it, and investigators also found a flag adorned with boogaloo symbols at his residence.  
  • In January 2022, Pomona resident Matthew Edward Chen was arrested and charged with possession of an unregistered firearm after he allegedly sold three auto sears to an undercover FBI agent purporting to be a member of the “Cali Bois,” a California-based boogaloo group. According to court documents, Chen was a member of the Cali Bois and participated in their online chats.
  • In March 2021, four members of the “Grizzly Scouts,” a boogaloo-oriented militia group, were indicted in connection to the Carrillo boogaloo murders. The four men subsequently pled guilty in 2022 to obstruction of justice and conspiracy to destroy evidence for deleting the records of their communications with Carrillo, who was a fellow member of the Grizzly Scouts. Three of the men received sentences between six months and a year, while the fourth was sentenced to ten-and-a-half years in prison for this crime and enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity.  

Nation of Islam (NOI)

The Nation of Islam (NOI), the notoriously antisemitic Black nationalist organization established in the 1930s, operates multiple local chapters in California. Larger chapters are recognized as numbered Muhammad Mosques, while smaller chapters constitute study groups.

Muhammad Mosque No. 27 in Los Angeles serves as the NOI’s Western Regional headquarters. Abdul Malik Sayyid (aka Tony) Muhammad leads the mosque as its Student Minister and also serves as NOI leader Louis Farrakhan’s Western Regional Representative. He has played an influential role in various national initiatives for the NOI, including helping develop the NOI’s relationship with Scientology and facilitating collaborations with prominent anti-vaxxers. Another prominent California-based NOI figure is Rizza Islam, a social media influencer who has gained a significant following in recent years that stretches beyond the NOI. Islam regularly shares conspiratorial, anti-LGBTQ+ and antisemitic content.

Black Hebrew Israelite (BHI) Extremists

The Black Hebrew Israelite (BHI) movement is a fringe religious movement that rejects widely accepted definitions of Judaism and asserts that people of color are the true children of Israel; the movement includes both extremist and non-extremist sects.

There are several extremist BHI sects active in California, including:

These groups frequently engage in organized street preaching activities, particularly in urban areas. During these activities they advertise their organization and antagonize passersby with antisemitic and other bigoted commentary.

New Independent Fundamental Baptist (New IFB) Movement

The New Independent Fundamental Baptist (New IFB) movement is a loose network of independent churches in the U.S. connected by their belief in certain religious doctrines and a shared brand of deeply anti-LGBTQ+, antisemitic, and other bigoted teachings.

New IFB-affiliated churches in California include Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento, led by Pastor Roger Jimenez, and First Works Baptist Church in Anaheim, led by Pastor Bruce Mejia. Both have a history of expressing violent extremist rhetoric. Roger Jimenez and Verity Baptist Church host the New IFB’s annual “Red Hot Preaching Conference.” This event gathers New IFB pastors and congregants from across the country; sermons delivered during the conference are also livestreamed online.

Recommendations for Policymakers

ADL advocates for a range of policies and activities that can help address antisemitism, hate and extremism while preserving civil liberties. ADL’s PROTECT Plan outlines categories of policies to address domestic violent extremism, our COMBAT Plan outlines categories of policies to combat antisemitism and our REPAIR Plan outlines categories of policies to facilitate transparency and accountability in the technology sector. Beyond those frameworks, ADL recommends that California policymakers take on the following initiatives.

1) Convene Cross-Sector Stakeholders to Address Hate-Fueled Violence

We urge Governor Newsom to convene a United We Stand Summit. In September of last year, following calls from ADL and coalition partners, the White House held the first United We Stand Summit, bringing together a cross-section of national leaders representing communities at risk of hate-fueled violence, civil rights leaders and experts in addressing hate and extremism. California should follow up on this type of effort by holding a California-specific Summit to align a cross-section of statewide stakeholders.

2) Prevent and Counter Domestic Terrorism

State of California officials should consult ADL’s PROTECT Plan – our comprehensive plan to address domestic violent extremism while preserving civil liberties. Some adaptations of these concepts for California could include:

  • Create a Strategy to Address Domestic Violent Extremism through a Violent Extremism Commission: It is difficult to pursue a whole-of-government approach without a comprehensive strategy. At the federal level, the Biden Administration released the National Strategy to Counter Domestic Terrorism in June 2021. California could create a State Strategy to Counter Hate-Motivated Terrorism to frame statewide efforts. At the state-level, Maryland created a commission to study the state’s efforts in addressing domestic extremism in partnership with state government agencies and diverse communities. California can also create a similar commission to assess and create transparency mechanisms for how it sees the threat, such as an annual assessment like that shared by the State of New Jersey. This transparency could inform the public and policymakers alike in the gaps that exist in current state law.
  • Creation of a Terrorism Prevention Strategy and Grant Program: California is already a leader in terrorism prevention. The State should build on its early success by creating a comprehensive strategy and new state grant program.  The National Governors’ Association – with ADL’s support – created a roadmap and toolkit for creating terrorism prevention programs at the state level, mirroring the public health-style programming supported by the DHS Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships. The DHS program has provided grants to at least eight programs that focus on terrorism prevention in California – ranging from the University of Southern California’s Treat Assessment and Management Teams to the California Bay Area Urban Area Security Initiative. Together, these projects make California a top state for terrorism prevention capabilities: the State should build on that success by creating a statewide strategy and state grant program for these types of initiatives. 
  • Introduce Legislation to Create Accountable Offices to Address the Challenge: At the federal level, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act (H.R. 350) in the 117th Congress to: (1) create offices to specialize in domestic terrorism issues at DHS, FBI and the Department of Justice; (2) require those offices to release biannual reports and for resources to be used proportionate to the threats identified in the reporting; (3) provide training on domestic violent extremism; (4) explore the connection between hate crimes and terrorism through analysis and grants; and (5) consider white supremacist infiltration of law enforcement agencies. California should consider establishing similar offices to specialize in the threat of domestic terrorism – which could be housed in California’s Department of Justice and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. These offices would allow for increased understanding of the hate crimes nexus of domestic violent extremism and options for law enforcement insider threat vetting. While some of these measures can be accomplished through executive action, the State Legislature should consider codifying these measures into law.
  • Fill gaps in state law related to violent extremist threats: While there should be strong protections in every state to ensure that law enforcement has a high threshold to investigate threatening language – ensuring it is dangerous and not protected political speech – once threats cross the threshold into potential violence, those threats must be pursued. That is why ADL supports SB 796 to fill a gap in California’s current laws by making it unlawful to communicate threats to cause death or great bodily injury at houses of worship and schools, even when a specific victim or location is not named.

3) Hold Social Media Platforms Accountable

Last year, the State of California signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) 587, a first-of-its-kind measure that requires greater transparency on content moderation protocols from major social media platforms. While social media companies have taken some steps to rein in hate and harassment, their lack of transparency has meant that users and policymakers have no way to know if companies actually abide by and enforce their own policies. Under this law, social media platforms are now required to publicly disclose their corporate policies as well as provide biannual and quarterly filings with California’s Attorney General on key data and metrics on the enforcement of their policies. As enacted, the legislation will work to address the ways in which social media foments hate speech, disinformation, conspiracy theories and violent extremism that allows for the harassment and targeting of traditionally marginalized groups.  Implementation of AB 587 will be critical to ensuring online safety and holding social media platforms accountable.

4) Strengthen Hate Crime Reporting and Response

Comprehensive approaches addressing hate crimes are critical to fighting antisemitism, hate and extremism. Governor Newsom and state legislators should consider approaches to:

  • Explore innovative ways to address hate and extremism: ADL applauds Governor Newson’s creation of the Commission on the State of Hate to discover information and assess new options for addressing hate in California. The Commission needs strong support from state officials and its findings should be carefully considered.
  • Mandate that Law Enforcement Agencies Report Hate Crimes Data: Law enforcement agencies in California should be required to report hate crime data to the Attorney General annually, as well as submit that data as part of the annual FBI data collection process. In 2021, of the 788 law enforcement agencies in California that participated in reporting hate crime data to the FBI, only 266 agencies reported one or more hate crime. Absent comprehensive and inclusive data, policymakers will lack the critical information that is needed to address these concerning trends.
  • Strengthen hate crimes laws: Legislators should consider opportunities to strengthen hate crimes laws. That is why ADL supports AB 449, which would require local law enforcement agencies to adopt a hate crimes policy, ensuring that they are equipped to recognize and investigate suspected hate crimes.
  • Promote whole-of-society approaches to hate crime reduction: Law enforcement alone cannot solve hate crimes – we must promote whole-of-society approaches. That is why ADL supports AB 1079 to establish a Hate Crimes Intervention Unit to implement research-based community interventions in communities where a hate crime has occurred. The bill would also establish the California Ad Council within the Civil Rights Department, which would create a media campaign to counter discrimination. Victim-centered solutions should be strongly considered before penalty enhancements and the creation of additional crimes.

5) Protect Civil Rights 

Protecting the rights of all people in California, including those who are vulnerable or historically marginalized, such as refugees and the disenfranchised, is crucial for countering discrimination and bias. That is why ADL is proud to support ACA 4, a constitutional amendment to restore voting rights to individuals who are incarcerated for felony crimes and SB 85, a bill to extend the number of days that refugees and asylum seekers are eligible for case management services from 90 days to up 180 days.​


The work of ADL’s Center on Extremism is made possible, in part, with generous support from:

Anonymous (4)
The ADL Lewy Family Institute for Combatting Antisemitism
David Berg Foundation
Crown Family Philanthropies
Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundations
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

ADL Leadership:
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and National Director
Gabrielle Savage, Senior Vice President, Operations
Oren Segal, Vice President, ADL Center on Extremism
Robert Trestan, Vice President, Western Division

ADL Center on Extremism:
Emily Kaufman, Associate Director of Investigative Research, Center on Extremism
Alex Friedfeld, Associate Director of Investigative Research, Center on Extremism

ADL is grateful to all of the generous supporters who make our work possible.