WA seeing major rise in antisemitism amidst hateful celebrity rhetoric

Dec 3, 2022, 10:50 AM | Updated: Dec 5, 2022, 11:09 am
In this photo illustration, the Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile phone with a photo of Kanye West shown in the background on October 28, 2022 in Washington, DC. - Rapper Kanye West's Twitter account, which was temporarily locked out after posting anti-Semitic remarks, appeared to be back up on the platform, on October 28 after billionaire Elon Musk took ownership of the social media company. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Acts of hate against the Jewish community are on the rise not just nationally, but right here at home in Washington.

The local chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, which has recorded incidents of hate against the Jewish community for more than 100 years, said last year hit an all-time high for anti-Semitic acts in our state.

“We’re on track to report more incidents of antisemitism in Washington state than we did last year, which was the highest ever in the history of our organization,” said Stephen Paolini, assistant regional director of the ADL’s Pacific Northwest office.

Rise of pediatric flu causes worst medication shortage in ’15 years’

He added that this is likely a significant undercount because these are just the reports that their organization has gotten.

“Things are scarier right now for the Jewish community than at any point in the last 50 years,” Paolini said.

This disturbing trend comes as celebrities like rapper Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) and other public figures are spreading anti-Semitic messages to millions of people on their platforms — and the ADL believes there is a direct connection.

“It absolutely is because of the high-profile normalization of hate, conspiracy theories, antisemitism that celebrities, public figures, have been putting out there into the world,” Paolini said.

He noted that before Ye’s Twitter account was suspended, he had 30 million followers — more followers than there are Jews in the world. Paolini said that kind of prominence emboldens anti-Semitic people to engage in acts of hate.

“We routinely get calls [reporting] anti-Semitic vandalism incidents, Jewish-owned businesses that have had graffiti sprawled on them with swastikas or other virulently anti-Semitic images,” Paolini said. “We saw the Jewish Family Services Center a few months back had some horrific targeted vandalism … We had numerous Jewish institutions, whether they be middle schools or elementary schools or synagogues, report to us credible threats of violence against them. And they’ve had to shut down service or shut down school to respond to that.”

More from Nicole Jennings: Senate Democrats, Republicans optimistic on climate change work

Washington residents and politicians often praise the state for being progressive and welcoming of diversity. Still, Paolini said the state is actually one of the worst in the country for white supremacism. In a report released by the ADL, Washington ranked fifth for number of white supremacist propaganda incidents in 2021, despite the fact that it is not in the top five most populous states.

Follow Nicole Jennings on Twitter or email her here

Local News

USS John McCain...
L.B. Gilbert

Navy conducting anti-terrorism exercises in Everett

If you live near a Navy base like naval station Everett and you hear sirens this week -- it's not an emergency.
20 hours ago
vaccine mandate...
Frank Sumrall

King County, Seattle eliminate employee vaccine mandate

King County and the City of Seattle will no longer require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition of employment.
20 hours ago
Frank Sumrall

Edmonds School District’s internet still down after ‘suspicious activities’

The Edmonds School District is investigating “suspicious activities” within its network — causing the district-wide internet shutdown.
20 hours ago
People walk past the Pike Place Market, Seattle's top tourist destination on March 09, 2022 in Seat...
Julia Dallas, KIRO 7 News

Pike Place Market invites people to celebrate Black History Month at Black-owned businesses

Pike Place Market is inviting the public to celebrate Black History Month by exploring the market’s Black-owned businesses.
20 hours ago
brandi carlile...
L.B. Gilbert

Seattle-area native Brandi Carlile wins big at 2023 Grammys

Washington native Brandi Carlile made a powerhouse performance on stage singing her single "Broken Horses" after winning multiple Grammys.
20 hours ago
Rescue workers try to reach trapped residents in a collapsed building in Kahta, in Adiyaman provinc...
Associated Press

Live Updates | Turkey, Syria earthquake kills thousands

ADANA, Turkey (AP) — The Latest on the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated parts of southeast Turkey and northern Syria early Monday. ___ War-ravaged Syria is calling on the United Nations and all member states to help with rescue efforts, health services, shelter and food aid following a massive earthquake that killed thousands in Syria […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
WA seeing major rise in antisemitism amidst hateful celebrity rhetoric