(JTA) – From Neo-Nazi propaganda campaigns to attacks against Orthodox Jews to threats directed at synagogues, the number of antisemitic incidents in the United States saw a dramatic increase in 2022, according to an annual audit published by the Anti-Defamation League.
The ADL counted 3,697 incidents of harassment, vandalism and assault targeting Jews last year — a 36% increase from the 2,717 recorded in 2021 and by far the highest total since the organization began tallying the data in 1979. The incidents include one fatality — the killing in October of Thomas Meixner, a professor at the University of Arizona who was shot allegedly by a student, in part because the student believed Meixner was Jewish. The tally also includes the hostage situation at a Texas synagogue early in 2022.
The ADL’s audit is the most widely cited and comprehensive source of data on antisemitic incidents in the United States, and its conclusion tracks with a recent report by the FBI showing an increase in hate crimes.
“This data confirms what Jewish communities across the country have felt and seen firsthand – and corresponds with the rise in antisemitic attitudes,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.
The ADL found that there were increases in several different forms of antisemitism, from incidents at schools and college campuses to antisemitism targeting Orthodox Jews to bomb threats against Jewish institutions.
There was a particularly large spike in propaganda distribution by white supremacist groups. One such group, the Florida-based Goyim Defense League, alone was responsible for at least 492 incidents of propaganda in 2022, 13.3% of the total number of antisemitic incidents tallied in the report. This year, a man accused of shooting two Jews in Los Angeles said he was inspired by a propaganda flier of the type distributed by the group.
One category that saw a decline was antisemitism that involved references to Israel or Zionism. There were 241 incidents of that kind in 2022, a decrease from the 345 recorded in 2021, when a conflict that May between Israel and Hamas in Gaza was accompanied by a spike in attacks on Jews. Incidents revolving around Israel or Zionism represented 6.5% of last year’s total.
The stream of antisemitic comments last fall by the rapper Kanye West, who goes by Ye, also inspired a portion of last year’s antisemitism. Nearly 60 incidents involved direct references to Ye.
A team at the ADL gathered reports from the organization’s regional offices, individual victims, law enforcement, a range of partner organizations and other sources, and then vetted each incident to eliminate duplicates and ensure it matched the organization’s criteria for what constitutes an antisemitic incident, according to Aryeh Tuchman, a senior associate director at the ADL’s Center on Extremism.
The report’s methodology section says it includes incidents in which “circumstances indicate anti-Jewish animus on the part of the perpetrator” or “a reasonable person could plausibly conclude they were being victimized due to their Jewish identity,” as well as incidents involving swastikas. Vandalism of Jewish institutions, and some online antisemitism, could also be included.
“We spend a great deal of time deduplicating, manually reviewing and trying to get as much information as we can about all of the incidents,” Tuchman said.
Tuchman added that the ADL can’t possibly capture every incident that has occurred. He also acknowledged that some of the increase in the number of antisemitic incidents recorded is likely due to the ADL’s ongoing effort to expand its sources of information, which include multiple Jewish religious organizations and security agencies. But he said that any effect of adding new sources is marginal, and that there is overwhelming evidence that antisemitism is sharply on the rise.
“It’s a question that we look at every year: Is there an actual rise in the number of incidents or are we just finding more incidents because we’re looking in more places?” he said. “We’re not getting a huge number of incidents as a result of new data sources — maybe some, but especially with the most serious incidents, there are only a limited number of incidents of synagogues that are vandalized every year.”
Tuchman added, “Where we know we are always undercounting is harassment,” which people are less likely to report.
There were 111 cases of antisemitic assault tallied in the audit, a 26% increase from 2021. Instances of harassment were up 29%, reaching 2,298 last year, and the 1,288 vandalism incidents logged in 2022 represent a 51% increase.
The hostage crisis in Colleyville, Texas, in January 2022 was registered among 589 incidents targeting Jewish institutions last year. Of those, 91 were bomb threats, the highest number since 2017, when synagogues received more than 100 bomb threats, most of which came from a teenager in Israel.
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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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