Skip to content

Photo by iStock

U.S. Anti-Semitic Incidents Hit Record High in 2022

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States reached a 40-year high in 2022, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found in a new report.

The Audit of Antisemitic Incidents 2022 tabulated 3,697 anti-Jewish incidents in the United States last year—the highest number on record since the Jewish advocacy group started tracking such incidents in 1979. Incidents increased in each major category audited: anti-Semitic harassment increased 29 percent (2,298 incidents); anti-Semitic vandalism increased 51 percent (1,288 incidents); and anti-Semitic assaults increased 26 percent (111 incidents).

Most assaults were perpetrated without the use of a deadly weapon; 139 victims were affected by the assaults, and there was one fatality—Arizona professor Thomas Meixner, who was killed by a former student who believed incorrectly that he was Jewish.

Notably, the audit said, visibly Orthodox Jews were targeted in 53 percent of the assaults in 2022. The number of incidents involving references in Israel or Zionism decreased from 345 in 2021 to 241 in 2022, but the number is still 35 percent higher than in 2020. Out of last year’s incidents, 70 were perpetrated by individuals associated with hostile anti-Zionist activist groups, the report said, and 46 “took the form of white supremacist groups’ efforts to foment anti-Israel and antisemitic beliefs.”

“The dramatic increase in antisemitic incidents in 2022 in almost all categories cannot be attributed to any one cause or ideology,” according to the audit. “Significant surges in incidents include high volume increases in organized white supremacist propaganda activity (102 percent increase to 852 incidents), K-12 schools (49 percent increase to 494 incidents), and college campuses (41 percent increase to 219 incidents), as well as deeply troubling percentage increases in attacks on Orthodox Jews (69 percent increase to 59 incidents) and bomb threats toward Jewish institutions (an increase from eight to 91 incidents).”

In the 232 incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism at K-12 schools, swastikas were present in 205 cases, and vandalism included messages such as “Kill all Jews,” “6M Oven,” and “Jews not welcome.”

“Given the insidious nature of bullying, compounded by the fact that many children may not feel empowered to report their experiences, it is likely that the actual number of school-based antisemitic incidents was significantly higher than the data reported in the Audit,” the report said.

Incidents at Jewish institutions such as synagogues, Jewish community centers, and Jewish schools increased 12 percent last year, with 589 incidents logged. Most incidents were harassment, but there were 86 incidents of vandalism and nine assaults.

Jewish institutions also logged their highest number of bomb threats (91) since 2017. The threats often included hateful, anti-Semitic language, and they were called into or emailed to Jewish institutions or schools.

The increase in incidents aligns with ADL data that noted American anti-Semitic attitudes are on the rise. According to the ADL’s Antisemitic Attitudes in America report, 85 percent of Americans believe at least one anti-Jewish trope, and 20 percent of Americans believe six or more anti-Semitic tropes, compared to just 11 percent in 2019.

“Although the link between antisemitic attitudes and antisemitic activity has not been proven, it would not be surprising if some antisemites have become emboldened to act on their hatred in the current environment,” the ADL said.

For more information on house of worship security, visit Security Management’s recent topic coverage.