Anti-Semitic incidents on US college campuses doubled in 2015, ADL reports

Anti-Semitic incidents on US college campuses doubled in 2015, ADL reports

An illustrative photo of students walking on campus.
An illustrative photo of students walking on campus.

JTA — Anti-Semitic incidents on American college campuses nearly doubled in 2015, the Anti-Defamation League reported.

In addition, the number of anti-Semitic assaults across the country increased by more than 60 percent, according to the organization’s audit of such incidents released Wednesday.

A total of 90 incidents were reported on 60 college campuses last year, compared with 47 incidents on 43 campuses in 2014. Campus anti-Semitic incidents accounted for 10 percent of the total.

In one incident in January, swastikas were spray-painted on the exterior wall of a Jewish fraternity at the University of California, Davis, on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz from the Nazis.

In another in November, students chanted anti-Semitic slogans at a protest at City University of New York’s Hunter College in Manhattan after organizers on Facebook called for participants to oppose the school’s “Zionist administration.” Protesters, who ostensibly gathered to fight for free tuition and other benefits, shouted “Zionists out of CUNY! Zionists out of CUNY!”

The ADL audit recorded a total of 941 anti-Semitic incidents in the United States in 2015, an increase of 3 percent over the previous year.

Fifty-six of the incidents were assaults, the most violent category recorded in the audit, up from the 36 reported in 2014.

The incidents of assault included attacks on visibly Jewish men as they returned home from synagogue in New York and Florida, and a kippah-wearing high school student in Denver who was struck with a rock by an assailant who also called him “Jewboy” and “kike.”

A high school student wearing a kippah was approached by two other high school students who made statements including, “Hey Jewboy, come over here” and “Hey Jewboy, do my bills for me.” One of the assailants then shouted, “Hey you kike, when I talk to you, you talk back,” before throwing a large rock that hit the victim in the back.

Anti-Semitic incidents were reported in 39 states and the District of Columbia in 2015. In addition to the assaults, 377 of the incidents were vandalism, up from 363 in 2014, and 508 were harassment, threats and other events, down by five incidents from the previous year.

Continuing a long-standing trend, the most-Jewish states had the most anti-Semitic incidents. But amid the upward national trend, New York, the state with the largest Jewish population, and California saw declines. New York had 198 incidents in 2015, down 17 percent from the 231 in 2014. California recorded 175 incidents, down from 184.

“We are disturbed that violent anti-Semitic incidents are rising,” Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL’s CEO, said in a statement about the audit. “And we know that for every incident reported, there’s likely another that goes unreported. So even as the total incidents have remained statistically steady from year to year, the trend toward anti-Semitic violence is very concerning.”

Online harassment has increased in recent months, and appears to correspond to the current presidential campaign, the ADL said. Much of the harassment has been directed at Jewish journalists and other public figures. The ADL recently launched a Task Force on Online Harassment and Journalism to investigate the issue of anti-Semitism directed at journalists through social media and to develop recommendations on how to respond to it.

The ADL has been tracking anti-Semitic incidents since 1979.  During the past decade, the number of reported anti-Semitic incidents peaked at 1,554 in 2006 and since then has been mostly on the decline.

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