Anti-semitic incidents in US hit two-decade high

Is the rise of Trump and the alt-right to blame for a 57% spike in cases?

Neo Nazis take part in a Ku Klux Klan demonstration in Columbia, South Carolina last year
(Image credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

Anti-semitic incidents in the US reached their highest level in more than two decades last year, with many blaming far-right white supremacists emboldened by Donald Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric.

The Anti-Defamation League says nearly 2,000 cases of anti-semitic harassment, vandalism and physical assault were recorded in 2017, the highest number of cases since 1994.

That was a 57% rise on 2016, the largest year-on-year increase since the Jewish civil rights group began collecting data in 1979.

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ADL’s national director, Jonathan Greenblatt, said the rise comes amid a climate of rising incivility, the emboldening of hate groups and widening divisions in American society.

“A confluence of events in 2017 led to a surge in attacks on our community – from bomb threats, cemetery desecrations, white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, and children harassing children at school,” he added.

“Donald Trump’s administration has been accused of failing to condemn religious bigotry,” says The Guardian, citing condemnation from Jewish groups for not mentioning anti-semitism in statements about the Holocaust.

Trump was also criticised for his response to violence at a rally in Charlottesville last August where neo-Nazi white supremacists clashed with counter-demonstrators, one of whom was killed. The President suffered a serious backlash when he suggested moral equivalency between the two groups.

Of biggest concern is the explosion of hate crime in schools and on campuses. Anti-semitic activity in schools across the US doubled last year while a separate ADL study published last month found a 250% increase in white supremacist activity over the past academic year on college campuses.

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