Data shows reported antisemitic incidents increased in Virginia in 2020

Virginia News
Germany Antisemitism Demonstration

People of different faiths wear the Jewish kippah during a demonstration against antisemitism in Germany in Erfurt, Germany, Wednesday, April 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

WASHINGTON (WRIC) — Virginia saw historically high levels of antisemitic incidents reported in 2020, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) recently released Audit of Antisemitic Incidents.

New data from the organization’s Center on Extremism revealed an increase in online and real-world incidents of antisemitism in the United States since the most recent outbreak of violence between Israel and Hamas.

“In 2020, we documented record numbers of antisemitic incidents across Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and saw a steady rise in vandalism and substantial increases of harassment,” ADL Vice President of the Mid-Atlantic/Midwest Division Doron F. Ezickson said. “We remain deeply concerned about these growing trends of hate and bigotry in our communities.”

While the Anti-Defamation League’s 2020 data showed a 4% decline in antisemitic incidents nationally, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. saw an increase, particularly in antisemitic incidents of harassment.

In Virginia, 49 antisemitic incidents were reported in 2020, a 75% increase from the 28
incidents in 2019, and a 58% increase from the 31 incidents in 2018, according to the audit.

This chart shows the increase in reported antisemitic incidents from 2019 to 2020 in the DMV — Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. — as tracked by the Anti-Defamation League. (Photo: Anti-Defamation League)

“As the country shifted to operating in a virtual world, we saw troubling increases in
online hate and harassment,” Ezickson said. “Antisemitic incidents were also motivated by the spread of COVID-19, the 2020 presidential election and white supremacist propaganda distribution efforts.”

Moving into 2021, as the Israel-Gaza conflict continues, the ADL has documented antisemitism across social media platforms, including reported calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.

“As the violence between Israel and Hamas continues to escalate, we are witnessing a dangerous and drastic surge in anti-Jewish hate right here at home,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. “We are tracking acts of harassment, vandalism and violence as well as a torrent of online abuse. It’s happening around the world— from London to Los Angeles, from France to Florida, in big cities like New York and in small towns, and across every social media platform.”

The Anti-Defamation League announced Thursday that it is working with authorities to identify those responsible for reported incidents of antisemitism.

“To those who choose to indulge in age-old antisemitic tropes, exaggerated claims and inflammatory rhetoric, it has consequences: attacks in real life on real people targeted for no other reason than they are Jewish,” Greenblatt said. “This is antisemitism, plain and simple. And it’s indisputably inexcusable in any context.”

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