Anti-Semitic events across Pennsylvania rose by 43 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year — a recorded 96 incidents — according to the latest annual audit by the Anti-Defamation League.
The rise represents the state’s largest single-year increase and the second-highest amount of incidents over the last decade, considering the area boasted five consecutive years of declining reports of anti-Semitism from 2008 to 2012.
“In two short years, anti-Semitism in the Keystone State has gone from historic lows to decade-long highs,” said Nancy Baron-Baer, ADL regional director, in a press release. “Bigots feel emboldened to flaunt their hateful attitudes more publicly than ever, as illustrated by a doubling in acts of vandalism. Our children are under assault from twice as many anti-Semitic incidents in our schools.
“The only way to stem the rising tide of bigotry is for every individual to commit to challenging hate.”
In neighboring New Jersey, 208 anti-Semitic events were reported in 2017, a 32 percent increase from the previous year. And in Delaware, 13 events were reported last year, a fourfold increase.
Incidents in Pennsylvania last year included 45 acts of harassment (up 10 percent from 2016) and 51 acts of vandalism (up 104 percent). Incidents also nearly doubled in K-12 schools.
Pennsylvania had the sixth-highest number of incidents across the country, behind New York, California, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Florida.
Nationwide, anti-Semitic occurrences were almost 60 percent higher in 2017 than 2016, reporting 1,986 cases. For the first time in at least a decade, all 50 states reported an incident.
“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, ADL CEO and national director, in the release. “In reflecting on this time and understanding it better with this new data, we feel even more committed to our century-old mission to stop the defamation of the Jewish people, and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.”