Most Common Types of Anti-Semitic Incidents in the U.S.


Earlier this week, Sixth & I Historic Congregation in Washington announced it had found anti-Semitic graffiti on its premises. Swastikas were scribbled in red ink in a staircase, and the word “JEW” was carved into a wooden door at the synagogue.

The Anti-Defamation League constantly updates an interactive heat map that tracks extremist and anti-Semitic incidents. So far, it has reported 3,101 anti-Semitic incidents in 2018 and 2019. In the last four decades, 2018 was the third-highest ranking year in number of incidents.

These are the most common types of anti-Semitic incidents in 2018 and 2019:

  1. Harrassment

Of the 1,879 incidents in 2018, 1,066 were of harassment, the ADL’s annual audit found. Though official numbers aren’t out for 2019 yet, the ADL heat map shows many cases of harassment across the country this year. This might include distribution of anti-Semitic propaganda, Jewish slurs directed toward Jews, or receiving anti-Semitic voicemail messages.
  1. Vandalism

There were 774 cases of anti-Semitic vandalism in the U.S. in 2018, the ADL reports. That’s a decrease of 19 percent from the previous year. Vandalism incidents in 2019 have been prominent, even in our local community. Sixth and I was vandalized this week, there was graffiti at Washington Hebrew Congregation in October, a swastika was painted at a pool in Gainesville, and there were two local cases on vandalism in January.


  1. Assault

There were 39 cases on anti-Semitic assault in 2018, notably the Tree of Life Synagogue mass shooting in Pittsburgh. Some recent examples of assault, according to the ADL, have happened in New York: a passerby threw eggs at three Jewish boys, and a cyclist slapped a Jewish man, calling him a “dirty Jew.”


And the most common places for incidents to occur in 2018 were public areas, non-Jewish schools, and in home and housing spaces. See the chart below for a detailed breakdown of locations.

From 2016 to 2018, there was a 48 percent increase in incidents. See the chart below for more details.

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Twitter: @jacqbh58

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