A recent report from the Anti-Defamation League, the leading anti-hate organization in the world, showed that 2022 had the highest level of antisemitic activity since 1979, averaging more than 10 cases per day in the United States.
The number increased 36% from 2021, totaling 3,697 cases in 2022. Experts on the subject blame extreme politics and a lack of education on the subject.
The year 2022 showed the highest number of antisemitic cases from white supremacist groups, increasing 38% from the previous year, from 4,876 to 6,751. States such as Texas, Massachusetts, and Florida saw the highest levels of white supremacist propaganda distributed from groups such as the Patriot Front, Goyim Defense League and White Lives Matter.
Propaganda includes stickers, posters, flyers and graffiti, which is now being banned in Palm Beach County, where commissioners are working to pass a new ordinance fining anyone who projects antisemitic images onto buildings without the owner’s permission.
Palm Beach County Mayor Greg Weiss said in a statement that hate is not welcome there.
“As human beings, you’re welcome, but your hate is not welcome, and we are never going to tolerate it as a community,” Weiss said.
Once in effect, this ordinance will fine first-time offenders $1,000 and those who repeat violations anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000.
Florida is also looking to pass House Bill 269, which will make anti-semitic acts hate crimes and punishable as a third-degree felony.
Though experts on the subject say this is a step in the right direction, Director of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Florida International University Orien Stier explains how education is key for society to combat this.
He explains how as a university professor he is surprised at how many students cannot define antisemitism correctly and believes people need to be educated on the subject.
“The answer is always more education, I think people need to learn,” Stier said. “There are quite a few students that don’t know what antisemitism is and there really needs to be a lot more education.”
Apart from education, Lonny Wilk, deputy regional director at the ADL of Florida explains that victims need to continue reporting hate crimes when they occur to law enforcement in order for more policies to be enacted such as in Palm Beach County.
“As a society, we cannot create policy solutions if we do not have an extent of the problem, and antisemitism is a plague on our society,” Wilk explains. “Especially now, we need everyone to have courage.”
Wilk also mentioned that everyone at home can show support for the Jewish community by exhibiting compassion to those who have been victims of hate crimes — one way people can help combat the vocal rise of antisemitism.