BOSTON – According to new data released in the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, 2018 was the second highest year for anti-Semitic incidents in Massachusetts on record. Three recorded assaults against Jews occurred in 2018, up from zero in 2017, reflecting a larger national trend of rising anti-Semitic assaults (39 incidents nationally, an increase of 105 percent from the 19 incidents reported in 2017).
Fifty-eight cities and towns in Massachusetts recorded at least one anti-Semitic incident last year. Massachusetts recorded the fourth highest number of incidents per state in the country (144), topped by California (341), New York (340) and New Jersey (200).
“People across Massachusetts continue to experience antisemitism at historically high rates,” said ADL New England Regional Director Robert Trestan. “Every incident sends a message of hate to the entire community. After years of hate becoming normalized, bigots are turning their antisemitism into action through violence. In response, ADL is expanding law enforcement and community training programs that focus on best practices in responding to hate, and increasing its education programs for schools. It is critical that everyone become engaged in eliminating antisemitism and all forms of hate. We all need to speak up and take action against hate – it is our best hope for the future.”
In 2018, ADL recorded 144 anti-Semitic incidents in Massachusetts, representing a 19 percent decrease compared to 2017. The majority of the incidents reported to ADL were acts of vandalism that convey anti-Semitic messages (82), followed by incidents of harassment (59). While overall incidents decreased, the numbers are still historically high and are of deep concern. In comparison, there were 50 anti-Semitic incidents in 2015, and 125 incidents in 2016. Notably, assaults increased by three incidents in 2018 as compared to zero incidents in 2017. This figure represents a larger national trend of increasing incidents of assault (39 incidents nationally, a 105 percent increase from the 19 reported incidents in 2017). This dramatic increase in anti-Semitic assaults is particularly concerning because it indicates perpetrators feel emboldened to cross over from acts of harassment and vandalism into violence.
Anti-Semitic incidents took place in a wide variety of locations, including places of business, private homes, public areas such as parks and streets, Jewish institutions and schools:
Incidents at Jewish institutions and schools: 11 (down from 16 in 2017)
Incidents in non-Jewish K-12 schools: 59 incidents in 31 towns and cities (down from 93 incidents in 2017)
Incidents on college campuses: 20 (up from 12 in 2017)
Incidents in public areas (parks/streets/transit/buildings): 21 (down from 35 in 2017)
Incidents at private businesses and retail establishments: 11 (up from 7 in 2017)
Incidents in homes: 15 (up from 9 in 2017)
In response to the high number of anti-Semitic incidents, ADL is continuing to expand its anti-bias peer training and professional development programs. More than 20 additional schools plan to implement ADL’s Peer Training Program in the 2019/2020 school year, in addition to the 100 schools across New England that already participate in the program.
ADL is expanding law enforcement and community trainings to raise awareness on best practices and responses to hate crimes and extremism.
ADL is also leading a coalition advocating the passage of a bill to support mandatory genocide education for all Massachusetts students.
And looking ahead, on Oct. 27 (the one-year anniversary of the Tree of Life attacks in Pittsburgh), ADL will convene The Good Fight, a community forum on confronting antisemitism.