Courtesy of the Anti-Defamation League
“When anti-Semitism is on the rise, so too are other forms of hate,” posited Anti-Defamation League NY Regional Director Evan Bernstein.
By Michael V. Cusenza
The number of anti-Semitic incidents reported in the city last year surged by more than 90 percent compared to 2016, the Anti-Defamation League noted in an alarming recently released report.
And while the lion’s share of NYC incidents occurred in Manhattan and Brooklyn (75 percent), Queens saw the largest increase in reported anti-Jewish acts in 2017, swelling to 39 from just 11 in 2016, according to the ADL’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents.
The non-profit organization’s analysis included a sampling of select anti-Semitic occurrences in Queens in 2017:
• Swastikas drawn on Metropolitan Transportation Authority map (December);
• Swastikas drawn on slides at a playground (November);
• Glass panes on front doors of orthodox synagogue were shattered (August);
• A Swastika and the phrase “No Jews” were discovered in a bathroom at a K-8 school (May);
• A sign at John F. Kennedy International Airport was vandalized to read: “Any problem with Jews please call…” (June).
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) called the audit’s findings “deeply disturbing.”
“As Americans, we must come together and stop these anti-Semitic attacks,” she added.
The startling city figures seem to be a microcosm of the state’s story. Overall, the number of anti-Semitic incidents reported in New York last year also soared by more than 90 percent compared to 2016. According to the audit, there were 380 incidents of anti-Semitism reported in the state in 2017, including physical assaults, vandalism, harassment, and attacks on Jewish institutions, compared to 199 such events in 2016.
The ADL also noted that New York continues to experience more incidents than any other state in the U.S., with one out of every five anti-Semitic incidents reported in New York. More than half of anti-Semitic assaults committed nationwide were reported in the Empire State.
“New Yorkers are seeing an undeniable surge of anti-Semitism and bigotry that we all must confront,” said ADL New York Regional Director Evan Bernstein. “The dramatic increase in harassment, school related incidents and against religious institutions cannot be accepted as a ‘new normal.’ This kind of hate hurts the victim and deeply impacts the Jewish community; we must remain vigilant in denouncing and exposing hate wherever it emerges. We know that when anti-Semitism is on the rise, so too are other forms of hate.”
The 2017 report featured these policy recommendations:
• Public officials and law enforcement authorities must support efforts to punish this conduct to the fullest extent of the law, while providing comfort and assistance to individual victims and community members.
• Victims and bystanders should report all anti-Semitic incidents and vandalism to the Anti-Defamation League and to local police.
• College and university administrators, faculty, and staff must receive the necessary training to effectively respond to anti-Semitic incidents, hate crimes, hate speech, and extremism on campus.
“We are redoubling our efforts to educate, advocate and engage schools, law enforcement, elected leaders and community leaders to ensure we are standing together against anti-Semitism and bigotry,” Bernstein said.