ADL: Antisemitic incidents in New England soared 205 percent in 2023

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ADL: Antisemitic incidents in New England soared 205 percent in 2023

The Anti-Defamation League’s annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, issued this week, recorded a total of 623 antisemitic incidents of assault, harassment, and vandalism in the New England Region (covering Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) in 2023, a 205 percent increase from 2022 and the highest number of antisemitic incidents ever recorded in the region. The regional increase in antisemitic incidents reported to ADL outpaced the 140 percent increase reported across the country.

Nationally, ADL recorded 8,873 antisemitic incidents in 2023, the highest total since ADL started tracking such data in 1979. The ADL Audit of Antisemitic Incidents also recorded a dramatic spike of 351 antisemitic acts across the region post-Oct. 7. Of the 623 incidents counted in 2023, 44 percent (351) occurred in the final 3 months of the year, post Oct. 7.

A total of 440 antisemitic incidents were recorded in Massachusetts, a 189 percent increase from 2022 incidents (152), also outpacing the increase nationally. Incidents of vandalism increased by 70 percent (139 incidents in 2023, compared to 82 in 2022). Incidents of harassment increased by 344 percent (293 incidents in 2023, compared to 66 in 2022). Massachusetts recorded 8 assaults, doubling the number recorded in 2022.

Massachusetts recorded the fifth-highest number of incidents per state in the country following California (1,266), New York (1,218), New Jersey (830), and Florida (463). The number of incidents in these five states combined accounted for 48 percent of the total incidents reported to ADL in 2023. In 2022, Massachusetts was ranked sixth among highest number of incidents per state.

All five states in ADL’s New England region (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) recorded an increase year over year. ADL tracked 52 incidents in Rhode Island (up from 19 incidents in 2022), 43 in Vermont (up from 6 in 2022), 35 in New Hampshire (up from 14 in 2022), and 53 in Maine (up from 13 in 2022). The majority were incidents of harassment (410), followed by incidents of vandalism (202). Harassment and vandalism across the region increased by 327 percent and 94 percent, respectively.

“We have observed a significant rise of incidents, followed by a surge, followed now by a tsunami,” said ADL New England Interim Region Director Rabbi Ron Fish. “The numbers are simply stunning. Behind each tracked data point is a family, a synagogue, a school, or a child who has been targeted for hate, simply because of their Jewish identity. This is intolerable in New England as it is anywhere in the country. We call upon everyone who cares about living in a decent society to unite and stop this rise in anti-Jewish hate. Antisemitism is not a Jewish problem. It is a societal problem. We can only solve it together.”

A total of 127 cities and towns in Massachusetts saw at least one antisemitic incident in 2023, an increase from 71 towns in 2022. Included in the count are antisemitic assaults, incidents of white supremacist propaganda, incidents in K-12 schools, and vandalism of Jewish institutions.

Antisemitic incidents in New England took place in a variety of locations, with each location type seeing a significant increase from 2022, including most notably a greater than five-fold increase on college campuses and nearly a doubling of incidents reported in non-Jewish K-12 schools:

• Incidents at Jewish institutions and schools: 92 (up from 23 in 2022)

• Incidents in non-Jewish K-12 schools: 101 (up from 53 incidents in 2022)

• Incidents on college campuses: 81 (up from 15 in 2022)

• Incidents in public areas(parks/streets/transit/buildings): 246 (up from 68 in 2022)

• Incidents at private businesses and retail establishments: 42 (up from 19 in 2022)

• Incidents in homes: 46 (up from 20 in 2022)

Of the 623 antisemitic incidents recorded in New England, 115 had an extremist nexus (up from 28 in 2022). This follows a national trend of increased extremist activity targeting Jewish communities. These incidents include cases of white supremacist propaganda distribution, swatting, bomb threats, municipal disruptions, and public demonstrations.

ADL tracked 11 incidents of assaults in 2023, up from 4 in 2022, representing a startling rise in threats targeting the physical safety and security of Jewish people. These incidents include physical violence directed toward Jews in the workplace, on college and K-12 campuses, and in public areas. The near doubling of incidents in K-12 schools, ranging from antisemitic graffiti and taunts, harassment and bullying on playgrounds, in the classroom and on athletic fields, is a grim reminder of the need to ensure that these schools are safe and welcoming for all students. Incidents, such as a Jewish student from UMass Amherst being punched on campus while holding an Israeli flag in the fall of 2023, add to the growing concern for student safety across the region. Θ

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