Anti-Semitic Incidents Hit All-Time High as Assaults on Jews Surge

An Orthodox Jewish man in Crown Heights / Getty Images
April 26, 2022

Anti-Semitic incidents hit an all-time high in the United States last year, with a record number of assaults occurring in New York, the Anti-Defamation League announced Tuesday.

Anti-Semitic harassment, vandalism, and assault was up 34 percent in 2021, with more than 2,700 incidents reported. New Jersey and New York had the most incidents ever—370 and 416, respectively—and New York City alone had 51 assaults—a 325 percent increase from 2020. Most took place in May 2021, when Hamas initiated an 11-day conflict with Israel, firing thousands of rockets on the Jewish state.

Assailants "choked, chased, threatened or struck [victims] with knives, cars, fireworks, or other objects," according to the ADL. One shot a Jewish man with a BB gun as he was walking on a sidewalk. Another who was wielding a knife injured two parents and their one-year-old child. In Rockland County, N.Y., where nearly a third of the residents are Jewish, a speaker at a community event said, "If I run one of them over … of course I'm going to back over them again." Many assaults and incidents of vandalism happened at synagogues and schools.

The news comes as anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide. The World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency reported in January that 2021 was the worst year globally for anti-Semitic attacks in a decade.

The alarming rise in anti-Semitic attacks came into sharp relief in January, when a terrorist took hostage four members of a Jewish synagogue, including its rabbi, in Colleyville, Texas. The Washington Free Beacon also reported numerous anti-Semitic incidents that have occurred at American universities in the past year.

"The alarming uptick in antisemitic incidents in our state should be deeply concerning to all—Jews and those outside of the Jewish community," said Scott Richman, regional director of ADL New York/New Jersey. "The fact that these incidents included an unprecedented number of vicious assaults—frequently targeting visibly Jewish individuals on the streets of New York, including young children, is incredibly disturbing."