United States / 22-06-2016

2015 Antisemitism report

Source: ADL



The number of violent antisemitic assaults taking place in the United States rose dramatically last year, contributing to a three (3) percent rise in the total number of anti-Jewish incidents reported in 2015, according to new data from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).


ADL’s annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, issued today, recorded a total of 941 incidents in the U.S. in 2015, an increase of about 3 percent from the 912 incidents recorded in 2014.


Fifty-six incidents were assaults, the most violent antisemitic category – representing a more than 50 percent rise from the 36 assaults reported in 2014.


Another troubling finding: antisemitic incidents at colleges and universities nearly doubled last year. A total of 90 incidents were reported on 60 college campuses in 2015, compared with 47 incidents on 43 campuses in 2014.


Campus antisemitic incidents accounted for 10 percent of the total incidents reported in the U.S. in 2015.


“We are disturbed that violent antisemitic incidents are rising,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “And we know that for every incident reported, there’s likely another that goes unreported. So even as the total incidents have remained statistically steady from year to year, the trend toward antisemitic violence is very concerning.”


Overall, antisemitic incident totals in the U.S. are historically low, according to ADL, which has been keeping track of antisemitic incidents since 1979.  During the last decade, the number of reported antisemitic incidents peaked at 1,554 in 2006 and has been mostly on the decline ever since.


“The good news is the number of antisemitic incidents overall are much lower than we witnessed in the mid-2000s,” said Marvin D. Nathan, ADL National Chair.  “While that decrease is encouraging, it is troubling that on average there is one antisemitic assault reported in this country every week, and at least two anti-Jewish incidents on average every single day. These numbers do not even account for all of the online harassment we see every hour on social media, which is so widespread it is difficult to quantify.”

ADL witnessed an explosion of hate online, especially on social media platforms in 2015. While the Audit includes incidents of online antisemitism reported to ADL in which an individual or institution is explicitly targeted, it does not count general antisemitic expressions online.


“Online hate is particularly disturbing because of the ubiquity of social media and its deep penetration into our daily lives, plus the anonymity offered by certain platforms which facilitates this phenomenon,” Mr. Greenblatt said. “The issue has grown exponentially in recent years because the Internet provides racists and bigots with an outlet to reach a potential audience of millions. We plan to adapt future versions of the Audit to account for such online harassment.”


ADL has been monitoring the recent spike on such harassment, which seems to have corresponded to the political season, with a large amount of this vitriol directed at journalists and other public figures. ADL recently launched a Task Force on Online Harassment and Journalism to investigate the issue of antisemitism directed at journalists through social media and to develop recommendations on how to respond to it. Advisors to this group include thought leaders from academia, industry, journalism, law enforcement and non-governmental organizations. The Task Force will report publicly on its findings and recommendations in the next three months.


In 2015, antisemitic incidents were reported in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Those incidents are categorized in the ADL Audit as follows:


  • Assaults: 56 incidents reported in 2015, compared with 36 in 2014


  • Vandalism: 377 incidents in 2015, compared with 363 in 2014


  • Harassment, threats and events: 508 incidents in 2015, compared with 513 in 2014



Continuing a consistent trend for many years, the states with the highest totals of antisemitic incidents were those with large Jewish populations. Once again, New York and California topped the list:


  • New York, with 198 incidents in 2015, down from 231 in 2014;




  • Florida, with 91 incidents, up from 70;


The complete list of state-by-state figures is available on the League’s web site.