Reported Anti-Semitic Incidents Up 71 Percent in Pennsylvania


Anti-Semitic incidents reported in Pennsylvania are up 71 percent in the first nine months of 2017 compared to a year earlier, the Anti-Defamation League reported Nov. 2.

There have been 58 total incidents across the state in the first three quarters of 2017, compared to 34 in the same period in 2016. There were 27 incidents of harassment and 31 of vandalism, but no physical assaults.

Pennsylvania has the fifth-most number of anti-Semitic incidents nationwide after New York (267), California (197), Massachusetts (117) and Florida (69). The state is heading for a second consecutive year of double-digit growth in incidents.

“ADL is watching the number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2017 with great concern,” said Nancy K. Baron-Baer, the ADL’s regional director. “Pennsylvania is on track to eclipse last year’s total, making 2017 the year with the most anti-Semitic incidents in nearly a decade. ADL’s Audit only measures reported incidents — we know that the vast majority of incidents go unreported, and so the true numbers are much higher.

“Pennsylvanians cannot stand idly by as anti-Semitism, or any form of bigotry, grows. We must work with law enforcement, government, schools and the broader community to more effectively disrupt anti-Semitism.”

Some of the Philadelphia-area incidents in 2017 have included large-scale gravestone vandalism at Mount Carmel Cemetery, rocks thrown through the windows of Temple Menorah Keneseth Chai and a man caught on camera urinating on the walls of Congregation Beth Solomon.

The increase in Pennsylvania incidents mirrors a jump in incidents nationwide.

The ADL recorded 1,299 incidents throughout the first nine months of 2017, up 67 percent over the same period in 2016 — and more already than in all of 2016. Incidents in kindergarten through 12th-grade schools have more than doubled, from 130 to 269.

“The continuing onslaught of anti-Semitism we have witnessed this year in our communities is staggering by any measure,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO and national director. “While the pace of incidents has slowed somewhat since the start of the year, the violence in Charlottesville and the unprecedented effort by white supremacists to recruit on college campuses show the disturbing reality of anti-Semitism’s full exposure in the public square.”

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Andy Gotlieb was born and raised in the Philadelphia area and has a bachelor's degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in journalism from the University of South Florida. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Tampa Tribune and the Philadelphia Business Journal and also spent a decade in public relations. He became the managing editor of the Jewish Exponent in March 2016 and the editor in 2022.


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