The total number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States increased by 21 percent in 2014 in a year marked by a violent anti-Semitic shooting attack targeting Jewish community buildings in Kansas and anti-Jewish expressions linked to the war in Gaza.
The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents counted a total of 912 anti-Semitic incidents across the U.S. during the 2014 calendar year. This represents a 21 percent increase from the 751 incidents reported during the same period in 2013, and is the first time in nearly a decade of declines where the overall number of incidents has substantially risen.
Despite the increase in incidents, the total number of anti-Semitic acts still represents one of the lowest totals of anti-Semitic acts reported by ADL since it started keeping records in 1979. Still, the Audit has also identified new trends in anti-Semitic incidents, including the phenomenon of hacking attacks on community and synagogue websites by overseas hackers, which multiplied in 2014.
The 2014 calendar year was marked by several violent episodes – most notably, the shooting attack at two Jewish institutional buildings in Overland Park, Kansas carried out by a white supremacist who admitted in a jailhouse interview that he wanted to target and kill Jews. It was the first time a Jewish institution has been singled out by a lone-wolf-style gunman since the 2009 shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
The ADL Audit cited a marked increase in anti-Semitic incidents during the 50 days of conflict between Hamas and Israel beginning with air raids on July 7 and into the subsequent ground invasion in Gaza to root out Hamas rockets and tunnels. Anti-Semitism manifested on the fringe of anti-Israel movements during and after Israel’s Operation Protective Edge as Jewish individuals and institutions became the targets of anti-Semitic rhetoric and acts of vandalism.