Smoke billows over the northern Gaza Strip during Israeli bombardment from southern Israel on Dec. 14, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas. / Credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images
CNA Staff, Dec 14, 2023 / 11:35 am (CNA).
The U.S. has seen a continued and “terrifying” spike in antisemitic incidents since the Israel-Hamas war first began in October of this year, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said this week.
From the war’s outbreak on Oct. 7, U.S. antisemitic incidents “reached the highest number of incidents during any two-month period” ever surveyed by the ADL, the group said in a press release.
“Between Oct. 7 and Dec. 7, ADL recorded a total of 2,031 antisemitic incidents, up from 465 incidents during the same period in 2022, representing a 337% increase year-over-year,” the group said.
The ADL said those antisemitic attacks included “40 incidents of physical assault, 337 incidents of vandalism, 749 incidents of verbal or written harassment,” and nearly 1,000 rallies that included “antisemitic rhetoric, expressions of support for terrorism against the state of Israel, and/or anti-Zionism.”
American Jews since the war began have on average experienced “nearly 34 antisemitic incidents per day.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of ADL, said the “terrifying pattern of antisemitic attacks” shows “no signs of diminishing.”
“The lid to the sewers is off, and Jewish communities all across the country are being inundated with hate,” Greenblatt said in the release. “Public officials and college leaders must turn down the temperature and take clear action to show this behavior is unacceptable to prevent more violence.”
The group on its website maintains a map of antisemitic incidents it has tracked in the U.S. since the war began. The densest concentrations of incidents on the map are found in the Northeast and on the California coast, with some heavy pockets in Michigan, Florida, and Washington state as well.
The ADL said at least 1,411 of the incidents it has tracked can “be clearly linked to the Israel-Hamas war.”
Experts have elsewhere been warning of a major spike in antisemitic attacks and incidents in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war, which began in October when Hamas launched a terrorist attack against Israel, invading the country and killing hundreds.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said in October that the number of anti-religious attacks on Jewish people had increased in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war and was “wildly disproportionate” to their total population numbers.
The U.S. bishops last month also urged Congress to provide more security funding for houses of worship, citing in part the vulnerability of the U.S. Jewish community amid the rise in antisemitism here.
The Catholic Franciscan University of Steubenville responded to the growing crisis in October by creating an expedited transfer process for Jewish students in danger of antisemitic discrimination and violence on campuses across the United States.
And the House Committee on Education and the Workforce announced this month an investigation into several elite universities after the schools’ presidents refused to categorically condemn antisemitic calls for genocide at a congressional hearing.