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Mideast War Fuels Hate Crimes In US

by | Fri, Oct 27 2023

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A new report by the FBI shows that hate crimes against Jews in the US leapt by 36% last year. They made up half of all reported religion-based hate crimes.

The Washington Times reports the FBI database recorded more than 1,100 anti-Jewish crimes in 2022. During the same period, there were just over 150 anti-Islamic hate crimes recorded. The news outlet reported that anti-Semitic hate crimes had spiked since the Hamas atrocities committed on Israelis earlier this month.

The Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL) which fights against anti-Semitism, recorded 312 anti-Semitic incidents from the day of the Hamas attacks on October 7 through to October 23. That’s around five times the 64 incidents over the same time period last year. Around two-thirds of the incidents were directly linked to the Israel-Hamas war.

In one assault cited by the ADL, a man punched a 29-year-old woman in the face at New York’s Grand Central Station. When she asked the attacker why he assaulted her, he replied, “You are Jewish.” CBS News reports earlier this month, frequent anti-Semitic speech prompted the Northern California Bay Area city of Walnut Creek to halt online and phoned-in public comments during city meetings. Several other Bay Area cities, including San Francisco and San Jose, had already enacted similar policies.

Since the war began, the messaging platform Telegram has seen a 1,000% increase in the daily average of “violent messages mentioning Jews and Israel on white supremacist and extremist channels,” according to the ADL. Its CEO Jonathan Greenblatt observed that: “When conflict erupts in Israel, anti-Semitic incidents soon follow in the US and globally. From white supremacists in California displaying anti-Semitic banners on highway overpasses to radical anti-Zionists harassing Jewish people because of their real or perceived support for the Jewish state, we are witnessing a disturbing rise in anti-Semitic activity while the war rages overseas.”

Incidents of anti-Semitism have also been increasing in Europe since October 7. Germany’s Department for Research and Information on Anti-Semitism reported a 240% increase in anti-Semitic incidents across Germany in the week following the Hamas attack compared to the same period in 2022. French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin reported that France has seen 588 anti-Semitic incidents since the Hamas attacks, resulting in 336 arrests.

Even prior to the latest Middle East violence there had been a notable increase in anti-Semitic incidents tracked by the ADL across the US with 3,697 last year, the highest since ADL began tracking the statistic in 1979. A national poll released last week by the ADL and the University of Chicago found that about 10 million American adults hold what it describes as both high levels of anti-Semitism and support for political violence — a number that it points out is “higher than the total number of Jews in the United States.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has raised concerns about a rise in threats and violence against Muslim Americans and a “spike in Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian rhetoric.”  US government officials warn that a surge in threats could rise and result in violence against both Muslims and Jews, if there’s an escalation in the Gaza conflict.

The FBI says it has already seen “an increase in reports of threats against Jewish, Muslim, and Arab communities and institutions.”  Conjointly with the Department of Homeland Security, it put out an alert that foreign actors, including Iranian media outlets and Islamic jihadist groups Al-Qaeda and ISIS, were using the conflict to stoke divisions and call for violent attacks in the US and other Western countries. The agencies noted that ISIS figures in particular have called on attacks against “the Jewish presence all over the world, especially Jewish neighbourhoods in America and Europe” and specifically singled out Jewish temples, nightclubs, “economic interests” and “Jewish and Crusader” embassies.