Audit of Antisemitic Incidents 2022 | ADL

Posted By on October 8, 2023

Themes and Trends Jewish Institutions

Jewish institutions, including Jewish schools, community centers and synagogues, were targeted by 589 antisemitic incidents in 2022. In total, this represents a 12% increase from the 525 incidents recorded in 2021 that targeted Jewish institutions. Synagogues were the most targeted Jewish institution and experienced 50% (296 out of 589 incidents) of all incidents impacting Jewish institutions in 2022.

Of the 589 incidents targeting Jewish institutions, 494 were incidents of harassment, 86 were incidents of vandalism and nine were incidents of assault. Of the 494 incidents of harassment, 92 were anti-Zionism/Israel-related and 91 were bomb threats. Vandalism incidents at Jewish institutions decreased by 15% in 2022 from 101 in 2021 to 86 in 2022. Most acts of vandalism took the form of graffiti, usually with a swastika or other antisemitic message. Other cases involved religious artifacts being tampered with, including menorahs being stolen or vandalized and Sukkahs being destroyed. Of the 86 vandalism cases, 25 had swastikas present and five were anti-Zionism/anti-Israel-related. Ten of the 589 incidents targeting Jewish institutions were perpetrated by white supremacists; six of those were fliering incidents. Assaults at Jewish institutions decreased from 11 incidents in 2021 to nine in 2022. Six of the nine assaults (67%) occurred at synagogues. The nine assaults took place in four states; five in New York, two in New Jersey, one in Oregon and one in Texas:

Colleyville

On Saturday, January 15, 2022, a gunman entered Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, during services, taking three congregants and Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker as hostages. The standoff ended more than ten hours later with all hostages released physically unharmed, and the perpetrator, identified as 44-year-old British national Malik Faisal Akram, dead.

The attacker, an Islamist extremist, demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, who is serving an 86-year prison sentence at the Federal Medical Center (FMC) Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, roughly 20 miles from the synagogue. During the hostage incident, Akram expressed conspiratorial antisemitic beliefs about Jewish power in the United States, believing that taking members of the Jewish community hostage would lend leverage to his demand for Siddiquis release.

Members of Akram and Siddiquis families as well as local Muslim leaders, immediately denounced Akrams actions.

2022 Bomb Threats

In 2022, 91 bomb threats, which often included hateful, antisemitic language, were called into or emailed to Jewish institutions or schools. Three other non-Jewish institutions received bomb threats that included antisemitic language. The majority of the antisemitic bomb threats occurred in the spring of 2022, with another wave in late fall. It is unknown if these threats originated from the same perpetrators. Twenty-five states plus Washington D.C. experienced antisemitic bomb threats impacting Jewish communities across the country. The states with the highest number of bomb threats were New York (12), New Jersey (11), Pennsylvania (10) and Maryland (6).

The last year in which we documented more than 20 bomb threats directed at Jewish institutions was 2017, when a single individual was likely responsible for more than 100 such threats.

Contact Form Harassment

In what appeared to be a coordinated campaign, Jewish institutions received twenty threatening messages through the contact form on their websites. The threatening and harassing messages were all sent between September and November and featured similar language, including references to Zyklon B tablets (the name of the poison used by Nazi Germany to murder more than one million people, most of them Jews, in the death camps during the Holocaust). Another similarity is that in most of the cases, the sender(s) completed the contact forms using the names of various so-called First Amendment auditors individuals who film themselves testing the constitutional knowledge of government employees. It is believed that these individuals names were used to misdirect attention away from the responsible parties. Although some First Amendment auditors have been known to harass synagogues, antisemitism is not a routine part of most auditors activity. Jewish institutions in eight states received these threats; Arizona (2), California (1), Florida (7), Minnesota (1), New Jersey (1), New York (5), Ohio (1) and Texas (2).

In 2022 there were 494 antisemitic incidents tabulated in non-Jewish schools (mostly public schools). This is a 49% increase from the 331 incidents in 2021. Of the 494 K-12 school incidents, 257 were incidents of harassment, 232 were incidents of vandalism and five were assaults.

The 257 incidents of harassment in K-12 schools represents a 44% increase from the 178 incidents of harassment in 2021. Of the 257 incidents of harassment, 102 incidents included an image of a swastika (such as a child drawing a swastika on a piece of paper and handing it to a Jewish classmate) and nine incidents incorporated references to Israel/Zionism.

School-based harassment incidents in 2022 included one-off incidents such as when one student told another, Ew Jew. Why dont you kill yourself, or when a student shouted in the middle of a math class, If anyone celebrates Yom Kippur today, you can die! Harassment incidents included recurrent antisemitic bullying, such as classmates taunting Jewish students with Holocaust jokes and references.

The 232 incidents of antisemitic vandalism in K-12 schools in 2022 represent a 53% increase from the 152 incidents tabulated in 2021. Of the 232 vandalism cases recorded, swastikas were present in 88% of K-12 school vandalism cases (205 incidents). Vandalism incidents included messages such as Kill all Jews, 6M Oven, Hitler was right and Jews not welcome.

Given the insidious nature of bullying, compounded by the fact that many children may not feel empowered to report their experiences, it is likely that the actual number of school-based antisemitic incidents was significantly higher than the data reported in the Audit.

In 2022 there were 219 antisemitic incidents at colleges and universities at more than 130 campuses across the country. This is an increase of 41% from the 155 incidents in 2021. Of the 219 campus incidents, 127 were incidents of harassment, 90 were incidents of vandalism and two were assaults. Some 33% of the campus incidents included swastikas.

References to Israel or Zionism were part of 19% of the 219 campus incidents. More information on the nature of those incidents can be found in the anti-Israel/anti-Zionism section of this report.

The 90 incidents of vandalism on campus represent a 41% increase from the 64 incidents recorded in 2021. Acts of vandalism on campus included the desecration of mezuzot (small ritual items that some Jews affix to the doorframe of their homes) in residence halls, as well as antisemitic messages such as Jews did 9/11, Kanye was right, Hitler and Fuck Israel in academic and residential halls. Swastikas were used in more than 60% (57) of the 90 incidents of vandalism on campus.

In addition to the 219 incidents that took place on college campuses, 25 incidents occurred at Hillels. Hillels are centers of campus Jewish life, and while they are counted as Jewish institutions for the purpose of the Audit, Hillel-related antisemitic incidents add to an environment of fear for Jewish students on campus.

NOTE ON BDS: ADL has not counted incidents of BDS resolutions on or off campus as antisemitic incidents in our audit, because they do not target individuals. However, these are antisemitic and contribute to the pressures faced by Jews on campus.

In 2022, there were 111 reported antisemitic assaults in the U.S. Four of the 111 assaults were perpetrated with the use of a deadly weapon such as a gun, knife or vehicle. Orthodox Jews were targeted in 53% of the incidents nationally. In 2022, there were no assaults perpetrated against the Jewish community that resulted in mass causalities. An antisemitic assault is defined in the Audit as an attempt to inflict physical harm on one or more people who are Jewish or perceived to be Jewish, accompanied by evidence of antisemitic animus.

Sixty-six of the assaults (59% of the total) took place in the five boroughs of New York City. Brooklyn was the epicenter of assaults, accounting for 52. There were seven assaults in Manhattan, four assaults in Queens and three assaults on Staten Island. Visibly Orthodox Jews were targeted in 64% (46 out of 72) of the assault incidents in New York State. Thirteen antisemitic assaults occurred in California, nine in New Jersey, four in Massachusetts, three in Maryland, two in Oregon, two in Texas and one each in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan and North Carolina.

There was one fatality stemming from an antisemitic assault in 2022. On October 5, 2022, a University of Arizona professor, Thomas Meixner, was shot and killed on campus by a former student named Murad Dervish. Dervish allegedly targeted Professor Meixner in part because he believed the professor was Jewish. The former student expressed conspiratorial antisemitic beliefs online.

A total of 139 victims were directly targeted during the assaults in 2022, including one fatality. This does not include bystanders or passersby who were not directly targeted or in danger. This is a 6% increase over the 131 victims of antisemitic assault in 2021. There were 41 victims in 2020 and 95 victims in 2019. Assaults were highest in May (15) and in November (15). Examples of antisemitic assaults recorded in 2022 include:

Five physical assaults took place at K-12 schools. These incidents include a high school student yelling Fucking Jew, Dirty Jew and F***** at a Jewish classmate and pushing the victim against a fence. In another incident, a middle school student jabbed a Jewish classmate with a calligraphy pen after making antisemitic comments. In a third assault, also at a middle school, a student repeatedly directed antisemitic and anti-Israel comments at a Jewish student and then punched them.

In 2022, 241 antisemitic incidents referenced Israel or Zionism. Seventy of these incidents were perpetrated by individuals associated with anti-Zionist activist groups, most commonly Witness to Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and its affiliates.

Although forms of anti-Israel political protest and expressions of opposition to Israeli policies are not included in the Audit, the Audit may include cases where Jewish individuals or identifiable entities, including Jewish religious or cultural institutions, are targeted for harassment, vandalism or assault by anti-Israel activists. Public statements of opposition to Zionism, which are often antisemitic, are included in the Audit when it can be determined that they had a negative impact on one or more Jewish individuals or identifiable, localized groups of Jews. This is most commonly the case on college campuses, where studies have shown that vociferous opposition to Israel and Zionism can have a chilling effect on Jewish student life and compound on pressures felt by Jewish students added to the incidents accounted for in this Audit. A full assessment of the scope of anti-Israel activism and its impact on American Jewish college students, including the scope and impact of BDS campaigns, of which there were twenty in the 2021-22 academic year, may be found here:

The 241 total incidents for 2022 is a decrease of 30% from 345 in 2021, but it is an increase of 35% from 178 reported in 2020. The decrease from 2021 to 2022 is likely a result of the spike in incidents in May 2021 due to the Israel-Hamas conflict that month, during which 128 anti-Israel incidents were recorded.

In 2022, Jewish students on college and university campuses were subjected to radical anti-Israel sentiment that sometimes veered into antisemitism, often by anti-Zionist groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). For example, in April at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an SJP rally attendee threw a rock at the Hillel building (no injuries or damage were reported). In March, following the release of a statement by an anti-Israel organization at CUNY calling for protest, a CUNY Law SJP speaker declared at an off-campus rally: Demand that Zionist Professors are not welcome on your campus, demand that Zionist students are not in spaces where Palestinian students are, because Zionism is a threat, Zionism is a genocidal threat to us." The crowd chanted we dont want no Zionists here. Expelling Zionists from campus would likely result in the removal of a large percentage of Jewish students and calls like this have a deleterious effect on Jewish campus life. At an off-campus rally in Philadelphia in August, promoted by Temple University SJP, a protestor shouted the Yahudi [Jews] must go.

In April, the New York University Law Students for Justice in Palestine sent an email to the universitys law students, including many Jewish recipients, that read: The Zionist grip on the media is omnipresent. In August at University of California at Berkeley, Law Students for Justice in Palestine announced that they and nine allied student groups had adopted a bylaw stating they will not invite speakers that have expressed and continue to hold views or host/sponsor/promote events in support of Zionism. As Zionism is a fundamental component of many Jews identities, overtly excluding Zionists from campus or communal spaces has a disproportionately large and negative effect on the Jewish community.

Other campus incidents included:

Forty percent of the Israel/Zionism-related incidents tabulated in 2022 occurred at Jewish institutions or schools. It is antisemitic to direct anti-Israel messaging at Jewish institutions or schools because such activity holds Jewish people collectively responsible for the alleged actions of the state of Israel. Such incidents occurred both on campus and in the broader community.

Witness for Peace (WFP), an antisemitic and anti-Israel group, continued its activities in 2022, holding weekly protests outside an Ann Arbor, Michigan synagogue. WFP members, who have protested outside the synagogue since 2003, typically hold signs with slogans like Resist Jewish Power, Israeli citizens in OUR Congress?? and AMERICA First, NOT Israel. WFPs leader and founder Henry Herskovitz is a Holocaust denier. He has explained that he convenes these protests because the synagogues support for Israel makes it complicit in Israels brutal and illegal military occupation of Palestinian lands and the suffering of the Palestinian people.

Other incidents included:

A particularly noteworthy incident was the creation of the Boston Mapping Project in June 2022, when anti-Zionist activists published a website with the goal of dismantling organizations in Massachusetts that are complicit in Zionism. Among the approximately 500 entities listed were dozens of Jewish organizations which make up the essential infrastructure of the Jewish community, including JCRC and Combined Jewish Philanthropies. Also included were the Jewish high school Gann Academy, the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts and the Jewish Teen Foundation of Greater Boston. The site listed the street addresses of these institutions and stated: These entities exist in the physical world and can be disrupted in the physical world. This provoked widespread fear in the Jewish community and concerns that Jewish organizations would be subjected to physical attack. Law enforcement, including the FBI, were put on high alert. After its U.S.-based hosting company deplatformed it, the site moved to an Iceland-based hosting company.

White supremacist groups were responsible for 46 of the Israel/Zionism-related incidents. In March, the Folkish Resistance Movement distributed propaganda at University of Texas at Dallas that read: "Blood and soil" and featured a Star of David and read: "Resist Zionism." In Albany, Texas, individuals associated with White Lives Matter, a network of anonymous white supremacist activists, distributed white propaganda stickers. They also distributed propaganda from the antisemitic Goyim Defense League (GDL) which alleged that Jews and Israel were responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In December 2022, in Brentwood, Tennessee, individuals associated with Patriot Front, a white supremacist group, spray-painted the message "NO ZIONISTS IN GOVERNMENT" and included the link to their website on a bridge.

Antisemitic Propaganda Distribution

Organized efforts by white supremacists to share antisemitic propaganda, mostly through distributing fliers with antisemitic messages, accounted for 852 incidents in 2022, up from 422 in 2021. This massive uptick was largely due to the growth of the Goyim Defense League (GDL) and its accelerated tempo of antisemitic propaganda campaigns. The GDL network, which has significant crossover with other white supremacist groups and movements, was responsible for at least 492 propaganda incidents in 2022, a dramatic increase from the 74 GDL antisemitic propaganda incidents recorded in 2021.

The activities of several newly formed white supremacist groups in 2022 also contributed to the rise in propaganda incidents. These new groups the Texas-based Aryan Freedom Network, Florida-based NatSoc Florida, the Iowa-based Crew 319, the Southern California-based Clockwork Crew (aka Crew 562), Florida Nationalists and the short-lived, New York-based Aryan National Army were responsible for seven percent (or 62 incidents) of the antisemitic propaganda distributions in 2022.

As in previous years, extremists used fliers, posters, stickers, banners and graffiti to share their antisemitic views. In Florida, NatSoc Florida and GDL used laser projectors to cast antisemitic messages on buildings on at least seven occasions. Individuals associated with GDL, Crew 562 and Crew 319 drove around in moving vans draped with antisemitic propaganda. Two such incidents occurred in California and one in Iowa.

GDLs overarching goal is to expel Jews from America. To that end, their propaganda casts aspersions on Jews and spreads antisemitic myths and conspiracy theories in hopes of turning Americans against the Jewish people. GDLs 2022 propaganda blames Jews for a variety of perceived social grievances, including immigration, pornography and abortion. GDL propaganda was recorded in 43 different states, with the vast majority of incidents in California (92), Florida (66), Texas (47), Georgia (44), South Carolina (25), Illinois (23) and New York (17).

Folkish Resistance Movement (FRM), formed as Folksfront in early 2019 and rebranded as FRM in late 2021, distributes white supremacist propaganda that often features explicit antisemitism. For example, among the slogans used were an image of a swastika with the words Smash white guilt and Break debt slavery or Resist Zionism with a picture of a sword breaking a Star of David. Additionally, FRMs propaganda often features crossed eiwaz runes fashioned to resemble a swastika along with white supremacy slogans such as Our blood is our faith, our nation is our race and Blood and soil. FRM was responsible for 142 or 17% of antisemitic propaganda incidents. FRM incidents were recorded in 20 states; the majority (62 incidents) were reported in Texas.

White Lives Matter (WLM), a network of white supremacists who engage in pro-white activism on a designated day each month, was responsible for 15% of the antisemitic propaganda incidents (128) with activity occurring in 34 states. The states with the most activity was Washington (19), Pennsylvania (11), Montana (6), Tennessee (6) and Wisconsin (6).

WLM propaganda ranges from White Lives Matter stickers with a QR code linking to the groups Telegram page, to messages about the "great replacement" conspiracy theory. Some WLM propaganda promotes or shares links to the antisemitic film "Europa: The Last Battle."

Extremist Black Hebrew Israelite (BHI) groups were responsible for eight instances of targeted antisemitic harassment or propaganda distribution throughout the year, most notably surrounding the controversy involving professional basketball player Kyrie Irving. In late October, Irving shared a link to an antisemitic film rooted in extremist BHI ideology on Twitter. The incident drew significant media attention and Irving was briefly suspended from the team. When Irving returned to the court for the Brooklyn Nets on November 20, the extremist BHI group Israel United in Christ (IUIC) held a large demonstration outside of the Barclays Center during which they chanted We are the real Jews and distributed propaganda. Individuals associated with other extremist BHI groups also demonstrated in that same location in subsequent weeks, making antisemitic comments to passersby and referencing Adolf Hitler in at least one case.

Beginning in early October 2022, Ye the highly influential artist, record producer, and fashion designer formerly known as Kanye West promoted antisemitism on a global scale when he made numerous harmful, conspiratorial statements about Jews in a series of social media posts and interviews. These comments drew on longstanding antisemitic tropes, including claims about supposed Jewish power and control, allegations that Jewish people exploit and intimidate others for financial gain and assertions that Jewish people today are not true Jews. Ye also praised Adolf Hitler and disputed the facts of the Holocaust.

The impact of Yes comments was felt on the ground across the country. Fifty-nine antisemitic incidents from October 11 through the end of 2022 directly referenced Ye, including 44 cases of harassment, 13 cases of vandalism and two cases of assault.

In one such assault in November 2022, a visibly Jewish person in Northridge, CA, was allegedly attacked by a group of individuals who punched him in the face, told him to take off his kippah and asked him how he felt about Ye. In New York, NY, in December, a Jewish individual was allegedly assaulted by a man who made antisemitic remarks and yelled Kanye 2024 before striking the victim. Jewish individuals faced verbal harassment in other cases, as well. In Los Angeles, CA, someone called a Jewish-owned restaurant, asked for the Kanye special and then said Death to all the Jews. In Bloomfield Hills, MI, an individual was arrested after he allegedly threatened Jewish families outside of a synagogue, making antisemitic comments that included the statement Kanye was right.

At least ten instances of Ye-related antisemitic harassment or vandalism occurred at K-12 schools. Jewish students across multiple schools faced bullying from classmates who referenced Ye while making antisemitic remarks. The messages Kanye West is right and Kill All Jews were written alongside three swastikas on the wall of a school bathroom in Newport Beach, CA in October. The words Kanye was right about the Jews with swastikas and a crossed-out Star of David were found in the bathroom of a school in Newton, MA in November.

Various Jewish institutions, non-profit organizations and cemeteries were also targeted with antisemitic messages. For example, in December, the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh received an antisemitic phone call from an unknown caller who identified themself using the name Kanye West and stated, I hate all Jewish people. All of them must burn and die. I love Hitler. In late October, the message Ye West was right about the devil Jews! was written in chalk outside of a Jewish cemetery in Stockton, CA. In November, headstones at a Jewish cemetery in Waukegan, IL were vandalized with swastikas and the words Kanye was rite [sic].

Known white supremacist groups including the Goyim Defense League (GDL), NatSoc Florida, National Justice Party (NJP) and Crew 319 all incorporated references to Ye in their antisemitic propaganda distribution and other activities in the last three months of the year. For example, members of the Goyim Defense League displayed banners over a highway overpass in Los Angeles, CA that read Kanye is right about the jews [sic] and Honk if you know. Similar banners and laser projected messages were also displayed in Florida and New York by GDL and NatSoc Florida members.

Jewish graves and/or cemeteries were desecrated four times in 2022, down from six in 2021. The desecration of Jewish headstones is a long-standing act of antisemitism that has been employed by those looking to terrorize and offend Jews.

Read more:
Audit of Antisemitic Incidents 2022 | ADL

Related Post

Comments

Comments are closed.