California has witnessed a 40% increase in antisemitic hate incidents over the past five years despite a 12% decrease in such incidents in 2020, according to an annual report released by the Anti-Defamation League.
The national organization released its “2020 ADL Audit of Antisemitic Incidents” Tuesday, April 27, the second anniversary of a shooting at the Chabad of Poway, where a self-proclaimed white supremacist fired shots inside the synagogue on the last day of the Jewish Passover holiday, killing one and wounding three others, including the rabbi.
The ADL’s report found antisemitic incidents trending high nationwide and in California despite coronavirus-related lockdowns in 2020. While antisemitic incidents declined nationally by 4% in 2020 after hitting an all-time high in 2019, last year was the third-highest year for incidents against American Jews since ADL started tracking such events in 1979.
For the first time since 2017, no antisemitic fatalities were reported last year in the United States. While the pandemic may have driven down acts of vandalism and assault, which declined 18% and 49% respectively, incidents of antisemitic harassment, particularly over video-conferencing platforms such as Zoom, increased 10% in 2020.
California, which was third in the nation for the highest number of antisemitic incidents next to New York and New Jersey, also reported the fourth-highest total of antisemitic incidents ever statewide in 2020 since 1998.
Despite some declines in the number of incidents, Jeffrey Abrams, ADL regional director in Los Angeles, said it’s important to not lose sight of the big picture, which shows that antisemitic incidents continue to trend high, even in a year when most people stayed home because of a global pandemic.
“We also saw this year so many incidents of antisemitic Zoombombing, where Zoom became the new battleground for hatred,” Abrams said, adding that synagogues and Jewish schools saw Shabbat services and Torah classes disrupted with displays of swastikas or Hitler’s name.
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