Anti-Semitism on rise in LA County
City News Service | 3/2/2018, midnight
From graffiti in Van Nuys claiming “Hitler did nothing wrong’’ to swastikas at a Woodland Hills synagogue, acts of anti-Semitism spiked upward across the country and locally in 2017, according to a report released this week by the Anti-Defamation League.
The number of anti-Semitic incidents jumped by 60 percent nationally last year compared to 2016, the largest single-year increase on record and second-highest overall number since the ADL began tracking such incidents in the 1970s, according to the report.
The report noted there was a near-doubling of incidents nationally at schools and on college campuses, the second year in a row campuses saw a sharp increase.
“A confluence of events in 2017 led to a surge in attacks on our community—from bomb threats, cemetery desecrations, white supremacists marching in Charlottesville and children harassing children at school,’’ said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the ADL.
In California, there were 268 anti-Semitic incidents reported last year, up from 211 in 2016—a 27 percent jump, according to the report.
“While California’s increase was not as dramatic, it still reflects the growing climate of incivility, the emboldening of hate groups and widening divisions in society,’’ ADL Pacific Southwest Regional Director Amanda Susskind said. “We are particularly focused on the impact on schools and colleges where White supremacist and racist ideology is on the rise.’’
According to the report, there were 1,015 incidents of anti-Semitic harassment nationally in 2017, including 163 bomb threats against Jewish institutions, up 41 percent from 2016. There were also 952 incidents of vandalism, up 86 percent from the previous year, and 19 physical assaults, a 47 percent drop from 2016.
According to the ADL, some local incidents reported in the past year included taunts of “go back to concentration camp’’ and “go back to oven’’ at a Los Angeles private school; a man taunting Orthodox Jews in North Hollywood by shouting “(expletive) the Jews’’ and “Heil Hitler’’; leaflets reading “no Jews no problems’’ in Riverside; and white-supremacist symbols spray-painted on the garage of the ADL building in West Los Angeles.
“We make government leaders and the public aware of anti-Semitism so we can counter it together,’’ Greenblatt said. “Anti-Semitism may be the oldest hatred, but it is deeply felt today and we will never give up on our important work to ensure our communities are safe for each and every one.’’