U.S. Anti-Semitism Is On the Rise: Are You Surprised?

The Los Angeles Times reported last week that Anti-Semitic incidents are once again on the rise in the US, with over 1,200 incidents reported in the last year.
That’s more than 3 acts of Anti-Semitism every day!
Specifically, it’s 1,211 acts of harassment, vandalism, and physical assault against Jewish individuals, property, and community institutions across the United States.
“In one typical example,” reports the Times, “a Jewish middle school teacher in Los Angeles found swastikas drawn on her classroom door and a note, also featuring swastikas, that read, ‘You’re next.'” How lovely.
Major incidents included a shooting attack at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and a plot by four Muslims to bomb synagogues in New York. The incidents also include 29 physical assaults on Jews (about 1 assault every 2 weeks).
The ADL annual report that compiled this data found that Anti-Semitic acts in California alone had increased by 20% for the second straight year. (Open-minded California in fact topped the nation, with 275 incidents in the state alone – or 3 incidents every 4 days!) California Attorney General Jerry Brown’s report for California found that 76% of the hate crimes motivated by religious bias were against Jews.
According to the ADL, the number of Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States remained at a “sustained and troubling level.” What a nice and genteel way of saying it.
ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said, in response to the report,

“America is not immune to Anti-Semitism… It is a sobering reality that as Jews have become more accepted in society, there remains a consistent hatred of Jews among too many.
The fact that Jews continue to be singled out for acts of hate on an average of three times per day in this country is a disturbing reality that we have to confront.”

The ADL report also called out that 2009 was marked by “a severe intensification of Anti-Semitic expression on the Internet.”

This included a “significant increase in the amount of Anti-Semitism found on online social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, and user-generated content sites such as YouTube.” I’ll leave it to you to find the “material” for yourselves. I’m sure it won’t take you too long.

We all know that what people say or post on the internet doesn’t really matter. But as Jew-baiting becomes more and more common in the very environments where younger Americans are most likely to see it, it will also become more acceptable, less outrageous, more just a part of accepted, common, normal daily life. I guess on the  internet, everyone knows you’re an antisemite, but nobody cares.

I found fascinating the comments on this report on the generally-high minded online magazine Slate (which allows for public comments). Slate’s coverage of the ADL report apparently inspired not horror or disgust in its readers, but a whole comment stream filled with gems like:

“Abe Foxman is a tribal racist”
“Jews in israel are commiting thousands of crimes and genocides each day in Palestine”
“Another reason behind the hate against [Jews] is their dictatorship control of white house”

So much for the “severe intensification of Anti-Semitic expression on the Internet.” Welcome to the United States of America in 2010. Enjoy your stay.
[Image: Jewish World Review]