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Anti-Defamation League figures show antisemitism soared in the US in 2017

There were reportedly 1,986 cases of antisemitic harassment, vandalism and physical assault in 2017 - the highest total since 1994

    A group of protesters march in Charlottesville, Virginia in August (Photo: Getty Images)
    A group of protesters march in Charlottesville, Virginia in August (Photo: Getty Images)

    Antisemitic incidents in the United States increased by 57 per cent last year, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

    The surge represents the largest year-on-year rise the group has seen since it began collecting data in 1979.

    There were reportedly 1,986 cases of antisemitic harassment, vandalism and physical assault in 2017, up from 1,267 the year before. Last year’s figures were the highest total since 1994.

    Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s national director, attributed the “alarming” increase to “emboldened far-right extremists” and the “divisive state of the US national discourse”, according to the Associated Press.

    He said: “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.”

    In August, President Donald Trump was criticised by Jewish groups for appearing to draw a moral equivalence between far-right marchers in Charlottesville, Virginia, and counter-demonstrators.

    White supremacists were seen displaying insignia from Nazi Germany and chanting “Jews will not replace us”.

    Mr Greenblatt added: “There’s no question we would love to see the President call out antisemitism as consistently and clearly as he does other issues.”

    The ADL and other groups have also reported a surge in the number of incidents in which far-right extremists have posted racist and antisemitic fliers on college campuses and schools.

    There were more than 200 separate incidents of antisemitism on university campuses in 2017, compared with 108 in 2016.

    A separate ADL study published last month found a 250 per cent increase in white supremacist activity on US campuses.

    Last year’s rise bucked a general trend in which the overall number of reported incidents fell over two decades, although there were small increased in 2014 and 2015.

    The FBI have previously said that Jews and Muslims were the most-targeted US groups for religiously-motivated hate crimes in 2016.

    The ADL also said that more people were reporting incidents than ever before, adding that its staff independently verifies the credibility of each claim.

    Greater reporting of incidents may be caused by heightened awareness of antisemitism as a societal problem, the group added.

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