USA: Anti-Semitic Incidents Surged Nearly 60% in 2017

Data released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) shows that anti-Semitic incidents increased significantly in 2017 as compared to 2016.

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New data released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) shows that anti-Semitic incidents increased significantly in 2017 as compared to 2016. ADL in its latest Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents reports that in 2017 there were 177 anti-Semitic incidents reported in Massachusetts, including harassment, vandalism, school incidents, and threats made against Jewish institutions. This represents a 42 percent increase over 2016.

79 Massachusetts communities experienced anti-Semitism last year, representing 22.5% of the Commonwealth’s total 351 cities and towns, and impacting thousands of people. Notably, nearly half (37) of the impacted communities reported multiple incidents, representing 10.5% of all cities and towns in Massachusetts. Of the incidents reported, a significant number occurred in K-12 schools. There were 93 reported incidents occurring in schools, an increase of over 86% compared to 2016, which saw 50 incidents.


Anti-Semitic incidents continue to proliferate in K-12 schools. In Massachusetts, there were 93 reported incidents occurring in schools, an over 86% increase as compared to 2016, which saw 50 incidents.

“Record numbers of communities are being impacted by anti-Semitism as disseminating hate becomes increasingly mainstream, said ADL New England Regional Director Robert Trestan. “Every week Massachusetts school children are faced with anti-Semitism in school, jeopardizing safety and learning. School officials are rising above the toxic environment by taking incidents seriously and integrating anti-bias education into the curriculum. Now more than ever, teachers, parents, and community leaders need to step up as role models who denounce all forms of hate and bigotry. Education and leadership are our best hope for eliminating hate from Massachusetts.”


In 2017, ADL recorded 177 anti-Semitic incidents in Massachusetts, representing a 42% increase compared to 2016. The majority of the incidents reported to the League were acts of vandalism aimed at disseminating anti-Semitism (109), followed by incidents of harassment (68). Notably, vandalism increased 73% in 2017 as compared to 2016. This dramatic increase in anti-Semitic acts of vandalism is particularly concerning because it indicates perpetrators feel emboldened enough to break the law. In the vast majority of vandalism cases, the perpetrators remain unidentified.
Consistent with prior reports, the states with the highest number of incidents tend to be those with the largest Jewish populations. These include New York (380 incidents); California (268); New Jersey (208); Massachusetts (177); Florida (98); and Pennsylvania (96).


In 2017, 79 cities and towns in Massachusetts reported anti-Semitic incidents, and notably, nearly half (37) of the impacted communities reported more than one incident to ADL.

In response to the dramatic increase in anti-Semitic incidents in K-12 schools, ADL has significantly expanded its anti-bias Peer-Training and professional development programs, reaching over 100 schools. In the Fall of 2017, ADL implemented the Peer-Training Program in 20 new schools, an increase of more than 100% from the previous year, underscoring the demand for anti-bias programming. In addition, 23 schools plan to implement the Peer-Training program in the Fall of 2018.

ADL’s anti-bias education programs empower people to recognize and address personal and institutional prejudice and discrimination, and actively promote prejudice-free, inclusive schools and communities in which individual differences are respected and valued. ADL’s Education Department provides trainings and resources across New England, reaching thousands of students, faculty and staff each year.

This comprehensive approach to addressing anti-Semitic incidents and behavior includes educating youth to prevent and respond to these behaviors, train law enforcement to respond to and investigate hate crimes, and provide a range of educational programming in communities across New England. ADL also works in partnership with elected officials at the state and local level to condemn anti-Semitism and all forms of hate.

ADL tracks and responds to all reported anti-Semitic and hate incidents. To report an incident, visit:

The above ADL Audit is based on data reflecting anti-Semitic incidents reported to the New England office, and is part of a national ADL report tracking anti-Semitic incidents across the country. The ADL Audit includes both criminal and non-criminal acts of harassment and intimidation, including distribution of hate propaganda, threats, and slurs. Compiled using information provided by victims, law enforcement, and community leaders, and evaluated by ADL’s professional staff, the Audit provides a regular snapshot of one specific aspect of a nationwide problem while identifying possible trends or changes in the types of activity reported. This information assists ADL in developing and enhancing its programs to counter and prevent the spread of anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias curricula for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all. ADL’s New England Regional Office serves Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.