LOS ANGELES — Anti-Semitism neared a historic high in 2018, a year that saw violent assaults against Jews double and the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history, according to a report released Tuesday, April 30, by the Anti-Defamation League.
The report cited 1,879 attacks in 2018 targeting Jews and Jewish institutions nationwide, the ADLs annual Audit of Anti-Semitic incidents shows. This is the third-most on record in a single year since the ADL began to track such data about four decades ago, said Peter Levi, regional director of the organizations Orange County/Long Beach chapter.
Overall, the total number of anti-Semitic incidents in the country declined by 5% from 2017, but California saw a 27 percent increase, Levi said.
“What is particularly horrifying is the increase in assaults,” he said. “Last year, we had zero assaults (in California) and this year, we had nine. This year, harassment was up 50%. And this data only presents a small picture, helping us understand the trends, which are way too high.”
The report listed several examples of anti-Semitic incidents in Southern California including a sticker with a swastika banner and the words “We are back” on a bus stop shelter in Fullerton; and white supremacist graffiti including the words “Pure Hate” and “88” (which stands for “Heil Hitler”), drawn on a wall bordering a large store in Woodland Hills.
U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Little appeared in a Hollywood neighborhood with posters bearing the phrase “Jews Rape Kids.” And there was an advertisement for a Los Angeles room rental on Craigslist included the line: “no pets, no smoking, no slobs, no Jews, sorry!”
ADLs report also stated that 2018 was marked by a high level of white supremacist activity including propaganda on college campuses and in communities, as well as hateful robocalls against Jewish candidates running for office.
In 2018, 249 acts of anti-Semitism (13% of the total incidents) were attributable to known extremist groups or individuals inspired by extremist ideology, making it the highest level of anti-Semitic incidents with known connections to extremists or extremist groups since 2004, the report stated.
The audit also noted several spikes in anti-Semitic incidents during the year.
For instance, there were 255 incidents in October, 300 in November and 194 in December. The October total included 45 propaganda distributions by white supremacists. The incidents in November and December immediately followed the massacre at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
These types of reports about anti-Semitic incidents increase the sense of anxiety in the Jewish community, said Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback, who leads the Stephen Wise Temple in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles.
“When anecdotal evidence we hear about and see in the media is confirmed by hard data, that heightens our sense of fear,” he said.
The rabbi, 49, said this is the most anti-Semitism he has seen during his lifetime. “This is also the most divided Ive seen our country,” he said. “When we make hateful speech acceptable, it opens the door to hateful actions.”
The proliferation of hateful content online has helped hate groups propagate their ideologies, said Oren Segal, director of ADLs Center on Extremism, which publishes the annual report.
“The idea that extremists of all kinds are able to communicate their ideas and create online manifestos did not begin in Poway or PitRead More – Source