By CBSMiami.com Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Antisemitic incidents in the United States reached their highest level ever in 2021, according to the Anti-Defamation League in a report released Tuesday.

The Anti-Defamation League counted 2,717 antisemitic incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism in 2021, a 34% increase over the previous year and the highest number since the New York City-based group began tracking such incidents in 1979.

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ADL’s annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, found that antisemitic incidents reached a high watermark across virtually every category. Attacks against Jewish institutions, including Jewish community centers (JCCs) and synagogues, were up by 61 percent, incidents at K-12 schools increased 106 percent, and incidents on college campuses rose 21 percent.

Assaults increased 167 percent, jumping to a total of 88 reports in 2021 from 33 in 2020. Incidents of harassment were up 43 percent, and acts of antisemitic vandalism rose 14 percent.

A substantial surge was reported during the May 2021 conflict between Israel and Hamas. There was a staggering 148 percent increase in reports of antisemitic incidents that month when compared in May 2020, as tensions were high and hundreds of anti-Israel protests took place in dozens of U.S. cities.

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ADL says it compiles data for its annual audit by evaluating information reported by news media, victims, law enforcement and community leaders. The group says it avoids conflating general criticism of Israel or anti-Israel activism with antisemitism.

The May conflict represented only one of several spikes reported throughout the year and, overall, anti-Israel sentiment did not account for the lion’s share of incidents in 2021, according to the ADL.  The group found antisemitic acts also spiked in November and December, times when there was no similar triggering factor. Nearly 18 percent of the incidents last year – at least 484 – were attributable to actions by domestic extremists.

“When it comes to antisemitic activity in America, you cannot point to any single ideology or belief system, and in many cases, we simply don’t know the motivation,” said Greenblatt. “But we do know that Jews are experiencing more antisemitic incidents than we have in this country in at least 40 years, and that’s a deeply troubling indicator of larger societal fissures,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director.

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Incidents were reported in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia. The states with the highest number of incidents were New York (416), New Jersey (370), California (367), Florida (190), Michigan (112) and Texas (112). Combined, these states accounted for 58 percent of the total incidents.

CBSMiami.com Team