Anti-Semitic Incidents More than Doubled in May from Previous Year Amid Mideast Violence: Report 

The Anti-Defamation League's analysis revealed 251 incidents of anti-Semitism in the U.S. from May 11 through May 31

Sheikh Jarrah
Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli police in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem on Friday. Photo: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images

The findings of a new report from the Anti-Defamation League reveals that incidents of anti-Semitism in the United States more than doubled last month compared to May of 2020, and says the spike began May 11, as the military conflict between Israel and Hamas intensified.

According to the ADL's analysis, anti-Semitism was already rising in America, but spiked during the deadly 11-days of violence between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Since fighting in the region ceased, incidents of anti-Semitism have leveled off, the organization says in a statement. However, synagogues are still heightening security and many people, including Holocaust survivors, are advocating for increased attention to the issue.

The organization's analysis revealed 251 incidents of anti-Semitism from May 11 through the end of last month — an increase of 115 percent over the same period last year, when 117 incidents were recorded nationwide.

"We tallied 305 incidents in the entire month of May 2021," reads the report. "And while the violence between Israel and Hamas animated many of these incidents, it does not account for the full increase."

The report, the group says that even "when incidents that include explicit references to Israel or Zionism are excluded," the number of incidences still increased by 15 percent.

The group organizes incidences into three categories: harassment, vandalism and assault.

From May 11 to May 31, 2021, "there were 190 cases of harassment," up from just 69 the year before. There were 50 cases of vandalism last month starting on May 11, and 11 assaults, according to the ADL.

Nearly half of all those incidents includes explicit references to Israel and Zionism.

"The most dramatic year-over-year increase was in the category of assault, which rose from zero" last May 11 to May 31, "to 11 in the same period in May 2021."

The statement adds: "There is evidence that at least seven of the antisemitic assaults were motivated by anger over the conflict in the Middle East."

At least 230 Palestinians were killed last month during the 11 days of fighting, while 12 people were killed in Israel. Tens of thousands of Palestinian residents were also displaced.

The fighting also killed 66 children in Gaza and two in Israel.

The report cites several highly-publicized incidents that unfolded last month.

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On May 13 in New Orleans, a Jewish high school student was harassed for wearing a yarmulke.

On May 18, diners at a Los Angeles kosher restaurant were allegedly attacked by individuals in cars carrying Palestinian flags who yelled, "You should be ashamed of yourselves," after the diners confirmed they were Jewish.

In late May in New York City, police arrested three people for allegedly perpetrating two anti-Semitic incidents reported in Brooklyn.

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