HOUSTON - Anti-Jewish hate is on the rise according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League. Across the country anti-Semitic incidents were up more than 33 percent in 2016 compared to the previous year. However, that's only part of the picture. In the first quarter of 2017 anti-Semitic incidents have jumped 86 percent. “There’s been a significant, sustained increase in anti-Semitic activity since the start of 2016," said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. "What’s most concerning is the fact that the numbers have accelerated over the past five months."
When it comes to the Southwest region, which includes most of Texas, the numbers show a similar trend. In 2016 there were 16 incidents reported. So far in 2017 that number has gone up to more than 25. The reports include eight reports of swastikas, six of verbal harassment, four of property damage, four of anti-Semitic emails or social media posts, four of anti-Semitic flyers, two of Nazi salutes, and one alleged employment discrimination.
The Anti-Defamation League says their research shows the number of anti-Semitic individuals in America hasn't grown. Rather, anti-Semites feel less constrained because of the 2016 election. In fact, 34 incidents of anti-Semitism were directly linked to the election. "There's no doubt that the spike in incidents corresponds to the election and post election," said Dayan Gross, Southwest Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League. "It is our belief that the heated and sometimes hateful rhetoric during and after the election contributed towards a climate where the restraints against this kind of hatred were reduced."
The ADL is working to take on the issue of hate head-on, but it's difficult because many of the attacks are not organized.
“Clearly, we have work to do and need to bring more urgency to the fight," said Greenblatt. "At ADL, we will use every resource available to put a stop to anti-Semitism."
"There's no question that our leaders set an example. They set a tone in the country and we need our political and community leadership to say no to hatred, no to any form of bigotry and discrimination," said Gross.