2021 Anti-Defamation League report documents “all-time high” number of anti-Semitic incidents in United States

The growth of fascism in the United States in the last year following ex-President Donald Trump’s failed coup was starkly reflected in the latest “Audit of Antisemitic Incidents 2021” released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Center on Extremism this past Tuesday.

The more than 2,700 incidents recorded by the organization last year mark the highest number ever recorded by the organization since it began compiling the data in 1979. Last year the ADL documented “2,717 antisemitic incidents throughout the United States,” which they note is a 34 percent increase from the 2,026 incidents recorded in 2020. An anti-Semitic incident is defined by the ADL as “vandalism of property, or as harassment or assault on individuals and/or groups” in which “anti-Jewish animus” or targeting a person based on “Jewish identity” was identified.

Two women pause along a fence outside the dormant landmark Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. It has been three years since 11 people were killed in America's deadliest antisemitic attack on Oct. 27, 2018.(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

While incidents were recorded in all 50 US states, the states with the highest number of episodes were New York (416), New Jersey (370), California (367), Florida (190), Michigan (112) and Texas (112). Together, these states, in which some 4.42 million of the roughly 7.1 million Jewish people in the country reside, account for 58 percent of the total incidents. In New York, which boasts the largest Jewish population in the US, with over 1.77 million people, the ADL recorded 416 anti-Semitic incidents across the state, including 51 assaults, the most physical attacks it has ever recorded.

Speaking on the report to the capitalist press, Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, starkly admitted: “This is the largest total we have ever seen. We had Jews beaten and brutalized in broad daylight in Midtown Manhattan, in Brooklyn, in the Diamond District. What was remarkable about it was people acted with impunity. These were Jewish people wearing a kipa or who were visibly Orthodox being assaulted for being Jews, and that is brand-new.”

Of the 88 assaults recorded by the group, an increase of 167 percent from the year before, 11 were perpetrated with “potentially deadly weapons such as a knife or a vehicle.” Over half the assaults indexed by ADL took place in New York City, with 12 in Manhattan and 34 in Brooklyn. In California, 14 assaults were recorded in Los Angeles and one in San Diego.

The report notes a total of 131 people were victims of assault in 2021, a 220 percent increase over the 41 victims of assault in 2020. The audit found that right-wing elements, such as neo-Nazis, fascists and white supremacists, were responsible for 484 anti-Semitic incidents last year, up from 332 in 2020. This figure seems like a severe undercount, given that the ADL reported that 422 of the 484 incidents cited dealt with the distribution of anti-Semitic fliers, banners, stickers or written messages.

These propaganda campaigns are ongoing. On Saturday, April 16, the first morning of the Jewish holiday of Passover, hundreds of residents in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, California, reported to police and on social media that they awoke to find anti-Semitic neo-Nazi leaflets left outside their homes.

The fascist propaganda, stuffed inside a ziploc bag weighed down with rice, was nearly identical to fliers distributed throughout the United States earlier this year and late last year by the Goyim Defense League, (GDL) a tiny neo-Nazi group. In their report, the ADL attributed 77 anti-Semitic propaganda incidents to the GDL in 2021 and that the GDL had continued to “making dozens of propaganda distributions in at least 17 states.”

Founded in 2018 in California by neo-Nazi Jon Minadeo, the GDL has less than 900 followers on its Telegram channel, which is used to distribute anti-Semitic leaflets for fascist sympathizers to download and print at their leisure. The distribution of roughly 200 leaflets in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles took place less than a week after Republican operatives, fascists and pro-pandemic reactionaries held a small but well-funded anti-vaccine “Defeat the Mandates” rally in Los Angeles roughly 13 miles away.

The explicitly pro-Trump and anti-communist fliers assert that “every single aspect of the COVID-19 agenda is Jewish.” Those in thrall to the “Jewish” conspiracy, according to the Nazi propaganda, include the Biden administration, the “Russia-Ukraine” war and “communism.” Expressing the immense fear of socialism that is gripping the ruling classes in all capitalist countries, the propaganda specifically attacks Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky.

Following the discovery of the leaflets, the Beverly Hills Police Department sought to downplay the rising threat of fascistic violence. “There is no credible threat to people right now,” the Los Angeles Times quoted Beverly Hills Police Sgt. Ryan Dolan.

Encouraged by this lack of police response, this past Sunday in Danville, California, a roughly a six-hour drive north of Los Angeles, local news outlet KGO reported that dozens of local residents discovered the same fascist fliers in their neighborhood.

“To see that locally, such baseless hate, is very disturbing, is upsetting,” Rabbi Shmuli Raitman told ABC 7. Teresa Drenick, deputy regional director of the local chapter of the ADL, told ABC: “We are not seeing signs of abatement right now and we are seeing a steady increase.” “This is really dangerous rhetoric,” Drenick said. She added that it was “... very reminiscent of Nazi propaganda during the early 20th century, then alleging that Jews were responsible for myriad issues, including the typhoid outbreak.”

Similarly, this past Monday in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, the same propaganda fliers were disseminated in the Markham, Altadena and Inglewood neighborhoods. “I do know Mt. Lebanon has a large Jewish population. It’s a terrible thing to isolate a certain group of people and say terrible things and spew that hatred,” Barbara Mitchell, a Mt. Lebanon resident told CBS News.

In a statement released Tuesday ahead of the report, ADL CEO Greenblatt could not explain the rise in anti-Semitism in the US. “When it comes to anti-Semitic activity in America, you cannot point to any single ideology or belief system, and in many cases, we simply don’t know the motivation.”

The ADL’s close connections to the US government and Democratic Party—Greenblatt worked in the White House as a Special Assistant to Barack Obama from 2011-2014—are reflected in the ADL’s lack of an explanation for the rise in fascism in the US. The report fails to assign any responsibility to the Republican Party for encouraging the growth of fascism in the United States. From Trump defending the “very fine” Nazis at Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 to Tennessee State Senator Frank S. Niceley suggesting Adolf Hitler as a good role model for the homeless last week, Republicans throughout the US are defending and encouraging the growth of fascistic elements on a near daily basis.

The omission of the role of the Republican Party and the capitalist system in the growth of fascism by the ADL is intentional. To name the Republicans would also implicate the Democrats, who have been party to all of the Republican crimes. Unable or unwilling to make the obvious connection between capitalism and fascism, something every class-conscious worker in the 1930s knew, the ADL instead recommends a series of proposals that are worse than useless, including voting for Democrats and giving more money and training to the police and FBI.

In addition to calling for improving “hate crime data collection,” the ADL’s pathetic “policy recommendations for government” include having “public officials and civic leaders ... speak out against antisemitism and all forms of hate.”

Far from “speaking out against” anti-Semitism and hate, the Republican Party every day is moving further to the right. On Thursday, Arizona’s fascist Congressman Paul Gosar, a leading Trump co-conspirator in the January 6 coup, put out a call for genocide on his social media platforms.

In Facebook, Twitter and Gab posts, Gosar, who delivered a eulogy for the QAnon adherent Ashli Babbitt last year after her death on January 6. He stated his desire for the US government to begin a mass program of extermination by deporting “40 million illegal aliens” via “planes, trains and buses” out of the US.

In a direct reference to the murder of 6 million Jews by the Third Reich, Gosar wrote: “We could easily deport 6 million each year.” After Nazis swarmed his post in approval, Gosar deleted it and reworded it, writing: “Using trains, busses [sic] and planes the US could deport 115,000 illegal aliens every week,” which is just under 6 million a year.

To rely on the spineless Democratic Party and their “Republican colleagues” to “speak out” against fascism is to consign humanity to World War III and another Holocaust. No, the working class will respond with its own independent socialist program that will put an end to the source of fascism, the capitalist profit system. Those who would like to join in this fight are encouraged to register for the online 2022 May Day rally this Sunday.