By Gina Martinez
Anti-Semitic incidents recorded the largest increase over the last year in Queens compared to the other boroughs, a new report from the Anti-Defamation League found.
ADL’s yearly “Audit of anti-Semitic incidents” revealed that New York state led the nation with 380 reported cases in 2017. One out of every five anti-Semitic incidents in the United States was reported in New York state.
According to the ADL, more than half of anti-Semitic assaults committed nationwide were reported in New York. These incidents include physical assaults, vandalism, harassment and attacks on Jewish institutions. New York’s 380 incidents in 2017 marked a 90 percent increase from 199 such incidents in 2016.
Evan Bernstein, ADL’s New York regional director, said New Yorkers have to confront the undeniable surge of anti-Semitism and bigotry.
“The dramatic increase in harassment, school-related incidents and against religious institutions cannot be accepted as a ‘new normal,’” he said. “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.”
ADL has documented anti-Semitic incidents in the United States since 1979. In 2017 the 380 New York incidents included 236 incidents of vandalism, up 61.6 percent from 2016; 133 incidents of harassment, including 24 bomb threats against Jewish institutions, up from 29 in 2016; and 11 incidents of assault, down 42 percent from 19 in 2016.
The state also saw a doubling of incidents in K-12 schools from 18 incidents in 2016 to 36 in 2017 and a 130 percent increase on college campuses.
New York City experienced a substantial uptick in reported anti-Jewish acts in 2017 with 234 reported incidents in the five boroughs. ADL said Manhattan led the city with 99 reported incidents. According to the report, 75 percent of all New York City incidents occurred in Manhattan and Brooklyn, but Queens saw the largest increase in incidents.
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) said the surge in incidents in Queens was troubling.
“It is deeply disturbing to see that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in New York rose by over 90 percent in 2017 compared to 2016,” she said. “Queens, the area that I represent in Congress, saw the largest increase in incidents rising from 11 to 39 from 2016 to 2017. As Americans, we must come together and stop these anti-Semitic attacks.”
ADL included recommendations to address anti-Semitic incidents and behavior in its report. Recommendations included educating youth to prevent these behaviors and working with law enforcement to apprehend the perpetrators. ADL New York said it trained over 550 law enforcement officials last year, and reached students in 175 schools with anti-bias and anti-bullying training.
“ADL’s mission to stop the defamation and secure justice and fair treatment for all must be pursued at all levels,” Bernstein said. “That is why 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.”
ADL also recommended university administrators, faculty, and staff receive training to effectively respond to hate crimes and extremism on campus and that victims and bystanders report all anti-Semitic incidents and vandalism to the Anti-Defamation League and to local police so that they can be taken more seriously.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart