Image via AP

In keeping with reports of bomb threats against synagogues and a rise in white supremacist activity, the Anti-Defamation League has found a sharp increase in anti-Semitic incidents across the nation, including bomb threats, harassment, and vandalism.

The Jewish civil rights group released a report on Monday that counts an 86% increase in reported anti-Semitic incidents in the first three months of this year compared to incidents recorded by the ADL in the same three months in 2016.

The data was gathered from people directly reporting incidents to ADL, law enforcement reports, and reports from Jewish community leaders.

Anti-Defamation League

Between January and March this year, that included 380 harassment incidents, with 161 bomb threats. Other forms of harassment counted by the ADL included distribution of hate propaganda, threats, and slurs. They also counted 155 reports of vandalism over that time.


That represents a far higher overall number than reports from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which started tracking possible hate incidents in all categories after the election: of 1,863 incidents reported through March, 244 were anti-Semitic, the group told Fusion. The SPLC count is based on incidents reported directly to the group, which they do not independently verify—so their figures are not intended to be a comprehensive count of all anti-Semitic incidents.

One reason for that discrepancy, the ADL says, could be that more people report incidents of anti-Semitism directly to the ADL because it’s a well-known Jewish community organization. Many of those personal reports arise from anti-Semitic incidents in schools, according to the organization.

The ADL said they follow up on initial reports from community members and ask whether the incident was reported to police, if it was a potential crime, or providing support in the form of education programs if it happened at a school.


Oren Segal, director of the ADL Center on Extremism, told Fusion the report is by no means intended to be an exhaustive study of anti-Semitic incidents, but rather to provide a snapshot year on year of trends the ADL is seeing.

In 2016 overall, the group recorded a 34% increase in incidents over 2015. The report ties that directly to the anti-Semitic sentiment stirred up by Donald Trump’s electoral campaign.

Anti-Defamation League


“These incidents need to be seen in the context of a general resurgence of white supremacist activity in the United States,” Segal said in a statement.

The Trump administration’s response to these threats and attacks—which came after months of reports and calls from Jewish civil rights groups demanding that he condemn the incidents—was widely criticized as being far too little, too late.

“The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil,” he said during a visit to the newly opened Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C. in February.


Steven Goldstein, Executive Director of the Anne Frank Center, said Trump’s response was “a pathetic asterisk of condescension after weeks in which he and his staff have committed grotesque acts and omissions reflecting Antisemitism, yet day after day have refused to apologize and correct the record. Make no mistake: The Antisemitism coming out of this Administration is the worst we have ever seen from any Administration.”

We reached out to the White House for comment on the ADL report, and will update if we hear back.