Jewish Community Relations Council reports rise in incidents

 

Wisconsin is experiencing an “alarming” rise in anti-Semitic incidents, announced the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, as it released its 2018 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents in March of 2019.

Mirroring the rise of white supremacy, racism and anti-Semitism in the U.S. and across the globe, new data shows an unprecedented number of local anti-Semitic incidents, according to the JCRC.

It is the fifth consecutive year of increased incidents, with a 20 percent increase from 2017.

“What’s most alarming is the change in tenor and tone,” said JCRC Chair Ann Jacobs. “The anti-Semitic incidents of 2018 were meaner, scarier, more personal and unsettling.”

The JCRC audit showed not only a 21 percent increase in overall anti-Semitic incidents, but a shocking 166 percent in incidence of vandalism, according to a press release.

“Perhaps most troubling is the renewal of conspiracy theories about Jews,” said JCRC Director Elana Kahn. “We are seeing the revival of old, hateful tropes of Jews as puppet-masters, working behind the scenes to destroy America through race-mixing and the nefarious use of power.”

“Such conspiracy theories,” noted Jacobs, “have a direct connection to the horrific attack on the synagogue in Pittsburgh last October. We need to understand the potential outcomes of hateful theories, attitudes and language.”

Trends include:

  • 5 percent increase in incidents.
  • 166 percent increase in vandalism.
  • Increase in vitriol and violent language in all incidents.
  • Increase in the use of classic conspiracy theories of Jewish power, Jewish control and Jews as puppet-masters.
  • Increase in references to Nazism, Holocaust and white supremacy.
  • 26 percent of incidents involved youth or took place on school campuses.
  • 45 percent of incidents took place online.

“We must all be vigilant against this rise of hate,” Kahn said. “We know that other communities are experiencing a similar erosion of civility. We must do a better job of stopping hateful language, interrupting all bigotry, and committing to building a safer community together.”

The JCRC works year-round to respond to and prevent incidents through ongoing interfaith and intercultural relations, ongoing efforts fighting bigotry against all people, and its Hours Against Hate initiative, according to the press release.

The JCRC strongly encourages individuals and institutions to report all incidents and it promises full confidentiality. Email ElanaK@MilwaukeeJewish.org or call 414-390-5736.

Each reported incident is corroborated and reviewed before any action is taken. The audit is reviewed by the JCRC’s Anti-Semitism & Constitutional Law Task Force and the JCRC board before the final approval process of the JCRC Community Council.

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Examples of incidents

  • Jewish university faculty members were targeted with a letter claiming Jewish control.
  • In a Baraboo classroom, one high school student gave the Nazi salute to a Jewish student.
  • A swastika was drawn on a satellite dish at a private residence.
  • A motorcycle had a large, painted swastika and 666.
  • A local man targeted a Jewish woman on social media, referencing her Jewishness and concentration camps.

Source: 2018 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents