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'Drive out the darkness': New data shows antisemitism is still on rise nationwide

Posted at 9:48 AM, Apr 18, 2024

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — New data from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) shows a record high of antisemitic incidents in the United States. In 2023, the ADL tracked 8,873 antisemitic incidents nationwide, a 140% increase from the 3,698 incidents recorded in 2022.

This marks the highest number on record since the ADL began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979. The ADL also said it recorded more incidents in 2023 than in the previous three years combined.

This new data comes right after the Kansas City area observed the 10-year mark of the deadly shootings at two Jewish facilities in Overland Park. On April 13, 2014, a white supremacist killed 14-year-old Reat Underwood, William Corporon and Terri LaManno. All three victims were Christian, but they were on Jewish campuses that day.

In the decade since, Mindy Corporon - who is Reat's mother and William's daughter - founded a nonprofit called SevenDays. It's an organization that promotes kindness through education and dialogue.

SevenDays has done a lot to spread kindness the last ten years. Alongside the effort to highlight this, it's also important to recognize that antisemitic hate crimes are still on the rise.

“Unfortunately, since 2014, antisemitism has continued to rise over the past decade or so," said Sarah Markowitz Schreiber, the director of education and programs for the Jewish Community Relations Bureau and American Jewish Committee. “There's a lot of divisions and divisiveness that is leading to Jews being targeted, often in the same ways that Jews have been for hundreds of years now.”

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Another recent report through the American Jewish Committee shows almost a quarter of college students have felt uncomfortable or unsafe at campus events because they are Jewish.

"Every day, Jewish students are encountering antisemitism online, or antisemitism in the form of swastika graffiti, or really inappropriate quote-unquote 'jokes' about the Holocaust or Jewish stereotypes," Markowitz Schreiber said.

Data also shows how these incidents have significantly increased since the war in Gaza started in October of 2023. But Markowitz Schreiber said even with these astounding numbers, there is hope.

"We have more partners, we have more allies, and that at least makes me hopeful that together, we're going to be able to drive out the darkness in the heartland," she said. "In 10 years, hopefully we'll be in a much better place.”