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Anti-Semitic incidents dramatically rose in Washington over 2018

The Temple De Hirsch Sinai in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood was tagged with anti-Semitic graffiti in March 2017. (KIRO 7)

The Anti-Defamation League is reporting that there was a dramatic rise in anti-Semitic activity in Washington state over 2018, according to their latest data.

“We are deeply troubled that our 2018 Audit of anti-Semitic incidents shows that these acts of bigotry are proliferating in the Pacific Northwest and across the country,” said Miri Cypers, ADL Pacific Northwest Regional Director. “These numbers just continue to prove that our work is as timely as ever and we will continue to work so that hate does not have a home in the Pacific Northwest.”

The ADL’s 2018 national audit of anti-Semitic incidents indicates a 60 percent increase in Washington state between 2017 and 2018 (20 incidents in 2017 and 32 incidents in 2018). Harassment went up from 11 to 16, and vandalism went from nine to 16.

The ADL says it demonstrates a “major uptick in anti-Semitic activity” in Washington.

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The report includes incidents like the anti-Semitic graffiti found in West Seattle last November. The FBI further reported in November 2018 that hate crimes dramatically spiked in Washington over the previous year — while hate crimes went up 17 percent nationally, incidents rose by 32 percent in Washington state. Per capita, Washington had the third-highest reported hate crimes. Race, religion, and sexual orientation were among the more common factors in these incidents.

Antisemitism across the United States

The ADL tracked 1,879 incidents of antisemitism across the United States in 2018, with a 105 percent increase in reported assaults over the previous year. This included the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 people. Nationally, the ADL found in 2018:

  • Most incidents were harassment (1,066); an increase of 5 percent from 2017
  • 774 reports of vandalism (down 19 percent from 2017)
  • 39 assaults; up 105 percent from 2017
  • 249 anti-Semitic incidents from extremist groups; the highest level of such activity since 2004. The ADL reports “These incidents were the result of an anti-Semitic fliering campaign and of a series of robocalls perpetrated by a neo-Nazi. Nearly half of the incidents of harassment targeting Jewish institutions were the work of known white supremacists or extremists.”

RELATED: Crime spiked in Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver in early 2018

The ADL further notes:

ADL has tracked anti-Semitic incidents for the past four decades and in 2018 recorded the third-highest number of incidents. The total of 2018 incidents decreased by 5% from the 1,986 incidents ADL recorded in 2017. The 2018 total is 48% higher than the number of incidents in 2016 and 99% higher than in 2015.

The Anti-Defamation League is an organization founded in 1913 and is dedicated to combating antisemitism and bigotry in America.

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