Antisemitism On the Rise


Andie S

Swastika drawn on stool at Aspen High School.

Antisemitism has become an increasingly pervasive issue in the United States, with a rise in hate crimes against Jewish individuals and communities. This particular form of hatred has gained momentum recently, with politicians, musicians, and athletes propagating this hateful rhetoric through various media platforms. However, the increase in anti-Semitic incidents goes beyond mere headlines, reflecting a concerning trend.

According to the 2021 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents conducted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), anti-semitic incidents in the United States reached an all-time high of 2,717 cases. This was the highest number on record of antisemitic incidents since ADL began tracking them in 1979. On average, there are seven or more antisemitic incidents per day in the United States, a striking statistic that illustrates a 34 percent increase in incidents that include and are not limited to assaults, harassment, and vandalism.

However, the issue of Antisemitism in America is often only brought to the attention in the media when it aligns with a particular partisan narrative. This is usually characterized as either neo-Nazi bigotry stemming from white supremacists or criticism of Israel and anti-Zionism. The incidents recorded by the ADL are often neglected and overlooked by the media because they do not align with a particular political agenda that journalists and the public can easily process and understand.

On February 15, a gunman shot two Jews in Los Angeles as they left religious ceremonies from two different synagogues in the same predominantly Jewish community. Across the country in Montgomery County, Maryland, public schools have reported nine antisemitic incidences of swastikas drawn on desks and students allegedly making comments about “burning jews.” These acts of hate have multiplied since Graffiti reading “Jews Not Welcome” was discovered spray-painted outside Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland, in December of 2022. A similar incident occured at Aspen High School in the fall of 2022. Swatisikas were drawn in different places in the high school building.

It is clear that antisemitism remains a significant issue in the United States, one that requires greater attention from the media, politicians, and society as a whole. While some of the incidents may be driven by neo-Nazi groups and white supremacists, it is important to recognize that antisemitism can take many forms and be fueled by a range of ideologies. Criticism of Israel and anti-Zionism can also serve as a mask for antisemitism, making it crucial to differentiate between legitimate criticism and discriminatory rhetoric. To combat antisemitism, it is necessary to address the root causes of this hatred and work to educate people on the dangers and harms of prejudice.