A ‘national antisemitism emergency’: Cases of Jew-hate in the US at highest level since records began

The number of synagogue bomb threats more than trebled in 2023, while physical assaults and online threats also soared


Demonstrators gathered outside United Nations headquarters in New York City in December to protest the body's silence over the sexual crimes committed by Hamas terrorists during the October 7 attacks (Photo: Getty)

Jews in the United States experienced an unprecedented increase in incidents of antisemitism in 2023 that exceeded any year since records began.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recorded 8,873 antisemitic incidents in the US last year – the highest level since the organisation began tracking data in 1979 – according to the Jewish advocacy group’s annual antisemitism audit.

This marks a 140 per cent increase from 2022, which was already a record-breaking year, with the figures for 2023 surpassing the totals of the previous three years combined.

The watchdog warned of a "national antisemitism emergency" in America and called for immediate action.

The audit reflected the global spike in Jew-hate after October 7, and recorded a hike of 5,204 antisemitic acts after the deadly Hamas attack.

There were instances of Jew-hate recorded in all 50 US states plus Washington DC. The states with the highest number of antisemitic cases recorded were those with large Jewish populations: California, New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Massachusetts. These states accounted for 48 per cent of the total incidents.

The report also documented a 45 per cent hike in incidents of physical assault. Of the 161 incidents of antisemitic assault recorded, Orthodox Jews, who are often more visibly Jewish than other members of the community, accounted for one third of the targets. None of the incidents was fatal.

A total of 1,987 incidents targeted Jewish institutions including synagogues, community centres and schools, a 237 per cent from 589 in 2022. The report suggests this was in part due to antisemitic bomb threats made to synagogues after October 7. Jewish institutions received 1,009 bomb threats – more than 10 times the 91 documented in 2022.

The ADL also tracked 2,177 cases of vandalism, including 1,117 incidents that included Nazi swastikas, up 41 per cent from the previous year.

The report found an increase in activity by white supremacist groups who were responsible for 1,160 antisemitic propaganda distributions in 2023.

Antisemitic activity reported on college campuses increased by 321 per cent from 2022.

One third of the total incidents in the report specifically contained elements referencing Israel or Zionism, compared to just 6.5 per cent in 2022.

The vast majority of the cases recorded by the ADL – 6,535 – were instances of harassment online or in person, with incidents involving antisemitic slurs, stereotypes or conspiracy theories.

In response to the findings, the ADL called on governors across America to create state-level versions of the National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, which US President Joe Biden unveiled in May 2023. At the time, Biden called the plan the “most ambitious and comprehensive US government-led effort to fight antisemitism in American history.”

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said: “Antisemitism is nothing short of a national emergency, a five-alarm fire that is still raging across the country and in our local communities and campuses.”

“Jewish Americans are being targeted for who they are at school, at work, on the street, in Jewish institutions and even at home. This crisis demands immediate action from every sector of society and every state in the union. We need every governor to develop and put in place a comprehensive strategy to fight antisemitism, just as the administration has done at the national level.”

“Despite these unprecedented challenges, American Jews must not give in to fear,” Greenblatt insisted.

“It may not feel so right now, but we have many more allies than enemies. And we call on all people of goodwill to stand with their Jewish friends and neighbours. We need your support and your ally-ship.”

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