Tragically, Jewish people have been experiencing hate crimes for thousands of years. Most notably, The Holocaust was one of the most horrific hate crimes, and crimes against humanity of all time, resulting in the deaths of 6 million Jews. Unfortunately, 2017 saw some pretty terrible expressions of anti-Semitism as well. We are at the end of 2019- has the disgusting trend continued? In 2017, hoards of white nationalists and neo-Nazis descended upon Charlottesville, North Carolina, spewing anti-Semitism. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) defines neo-Nazi groups as groups who "share a hatred for Jews and a love for Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. While they also hate other minorities, gays and lesbians and even sometimes Christians, they perceive "the Jew" as their cardinal enemy". According to the SPLC, 2017 saw a 22% rise in the number of such groups.
Those who espouse Anti-Semitic views may go on to commit a hate crime. But just what exactly is a hate crime? The FBI states that a hate crime is a "criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity". For example the atrocious shooting in 2018 at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left 11 Jewish people dead was classified as a hate crime. Just recently, the Jersey City shooting that occurred in a Jewish neighborhood bodega left 2 Jewish people (along with a non-Jewish employee, a law enforcement officer, and the perpetrators) dead.
According to the FBI, 2017 saw an overall 17% increase in hate crimes and a 38% uptick in anti-Semitic hate crimes. in 2018, the FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics demonstrate that there were 896 anti-Jewish hate crime offenses victimizing 920 people. For the past 28 years, Jews have been the most targeted religion for hate crime offenses. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reports that of the religion-based hate crimes in 2018, 60% were targeted against Jews. The ADL claims that although 2018 saw a decrease in the number of hate crimes targeting Jewish people, the rates are still at "near historic levels". It appears on the surface that 2018 was a better year- seeing a 5% decline in hate crimes from 2017; however, the hate crimes are becoming more violent (105% increase in assaults compared to 2017). In comparison to 2015, there was a 99% increase in hate crimes for 2018. An article from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency states that New York City has experienced an alarming rate of hate crimes in 2019. The article says Deputy Inspector Mark Molinari, head of the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force reports not only a rise in hate crimes overall compared to the same time period last year, but also a shocking proportion of the targets of such crimes were Jewish. The article pointed out that 13% of the hate crimes were interpersonal in nature; in other words, one person directly targeting and victimizing another person.
It is important to remember that not all hate crimes are reported. Not all jurisdictions report these data to the FBI. Some people who live in minority communities may, for example, fear retaliation for reporting, may not have much faith in local law enforcement, or may think that nothing can be done to help them. There are many more hate crimes that do not go reported. The complete official statistics from 2019 will not be available until some time next year. Thankfully, in recent years, strides have been made in hate crime laws and enforcement. Let us hope the progress continues and remember the importance of such action when it comes time to electing our leaders.
This is unacceptable. Jewish people are our loved ones, our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers, our schoolmates, our community members, our fellow Americans, and our global citizens. They do not deserve this hate. No one does. Spread awareness.