Anti-Defamation League Releases Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents

Jessi Rae Morton

News Editor

On March 23, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released their annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents. The ADL describes itself as “the leading anti-hate organization in the world. Founded in 1913, its timeless mission is ‘to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.’” The full annual audit is available online, including methodology and policy recommendations. 

The executive summary of the audit states: “In 2022, ADL tabulated 3,697 antisemitic incidents throughout the United States. This is a 36% increase from the 2,717 incidents tabulated in 2021 and the highest number on record since ADL began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979. This is the third time in the past five years that the year-end total has been the highest number ever recorded.”

The Audit goes on to say that “According to ADL’s 2023 report Antisemitic Attitudes in America, 20% of Americans believe six or more antisemitic tropes, which is significantly more than the 11% that ADL found in 2019. Although a causal 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. This dramatic increase also occurs just as the FBI released its 2021 hate crime data (a year behind this report) showing that Jews remain the single most targeted religious minority in America.”

The FBI’s revised hate crime statistics indicate that “Nationally, reported hate crime incidents increased 11.6% — from 8,210 in 2020 to 9,065 in 2021. This data reflects the reports of 14,859 law enforcement agencies representing 91.1% of the U.S. population.” This revised data shows that “Anti-Jewish incidents [account for] 51.4% of religion-related incidents.”

In the press release accompanying the Audit’s publication, the ADL does point out that “Some incidents were directly linked to events in the news. For example, hip-hop artist Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) was directly referenced in 59 incidents, an example of how his highly publicized antisemitic statements last year resonated with or motivated perpetrators.” In the full report, this data is further detailed, noting that these 59 incidents “from October 11 through the end of 2022 directly referenced Ye, including 44 cases of harassment, 13 cases of vandalism and two cases of assault.”

An additional resource is the ADL H.E.A.T. (Hate, Extremism, Antisemitism, Terrorism) Map, which includes “The complete dataset for antisemitic incidents for 2016-2022” and “allows users to geographically chart antisemitic incidents and extremist activity nationally and regionally.” The H.E.A.T. Map “lets you read details on specific incidents, better understand tactics extremists use, compare activity by type and/or state and access and download raw data. ADL Center on Extremism experts developed this unique visualization using data points from information sources including news and media reports, government documents (including police reports), victim reports, extremist-related sources, Center on Extremism investigations and more. ADL H.E.A.T. Map is updated monthly.”

Similarly, data collected for the annual audit “is comprised of both criminal and non-criminal incidents of harassment, vandalism and assault against individuals and groups as reported to ADL by victims, law enforcement, the media and partner organizations. It is not a public opinion poll or an effort to catalog every expression of antisemitism.” Furthermore, “The Audit includes cases where individuals or groups were harassed online via antisemitic content in direct messages, on listservs or in social media settings where they would have the reasonable expectation of not being subjected to antisemitism. The Audit does not attempt to assess the total amount of antisemitism online.”

Finally, the ADL annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents also provides state specific data. In a March 23, 2023 press release, the ADL points out that “In North Carolina, 39 antisemitic incidents were reported in 2022, a 30 percent increase from the 30 incidents reported in 2021 and a 200 percent increase from the 13 incidents reported in 2020. North Carolina registered with the 23rd highest number of antisemitic incidents reported in the country for 2022.”

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