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Antisemitic incidents surged in California as conspiracies fueled hate, report says


Anti-Semitic incidents involving harassment, vandalism and assaults increased in Southern California and the rest of the state in 2022, according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League.

The Jewish civil rights organization counted 237 reported anti-Semitic incidents in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Kern counties, a 30% increase from the previous year. Statewide, the ADL recorded 518 incidents last year, up 41% from 2021.

California ranked second in the number of incidents in the United States, behind New York’s 580 incidents.

Nationwide, the ADL found 3,697 incidents of anti-Semitism last year, a 36% increase from 2021. The organization said it’s the most incidents since it began tracking anti-Jewish hatred in 1979.

“In a year when anti-Semitism found mainstream acceptance like never before, anti-Semites were encouraged to act on their mood,” Oren Segal, vice president of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, said in the report. “From the anti-Semitic ‘Great Replacement’ theory to Ye’s claims about Jewish power, these conspiracies fueled real-world hate incidents.”

The Los Angeles Holocaust Museum said it received anti-Semitic threats on social media after Kanye West publicly declined an invitation to a private tour of the museum in October. The institution wanted West, who now goes by Ye, to “understand how words can incite horrific violence and genocide” after the rapper’s incendiary comments about the Jewish community.

West espoused anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in social media posts and television interviews.

In October, a well-known hate group demonstrated in support of West at a 405 Freeway overpass in Los Angeles. Protesters gave Nazi salutes to passing motorists and unfurled a banner reading, “Kanye’s right about the Jews,” according to footage compiled by anti-discrimination organizations.

In August at UC Davis, campus police searched for four white men dressed in black displaying Holocaust denial signs above a bike overpass, according to Chancellor Gary May.

Anti-Semitic incidents on US college campuses have increased by 41%, with 219 incidents reported on more than 130 campuses in 2022, according to the study.

“It is deeply concerning that there is such a sharp increase in anti-Semitic acts at schools and universities,” Jonathan Greenblattm, executive director of the ADL, said in a statement.

“This is a reminder of the need for more targeted educational efforts aimed at eradicating hate and teaching acceptance,” Greenblatt added. “Holocaust education is increasingly important, which is why we advocate for the passage of state laws requiring Holocaust education so that schools are equipped to teach that history and ensure its lessons live on.”

Reported antisemitic propaganda materials were distributed in the US at a higher rate in 2022 than in previous years, with 852 incidents, compared to just 422 in 2021, according to the ADL.

The racist flyers were distributed in several neighborhoods in 2022, including in the San Gabriel Valley, at the start of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, authorities said.

In May, a group of people dressed in clothing reminiscent of Nazi brownshirts drove a rented truck displaying hate messages down Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, according to the StopAntisemitism watchdog group. The organization said the Goyim Defense League, which has been identified as a hate group by the ADL, was behind the incident.

The ADL report claims that racist activities by organized groups have increased in recent years.

Harassment has increased 29% since 2021, with 2,298 reported incidents involving anti-Semitic slurs, stereotypes or conspiracy theories, the ADL said. The report claims that a Jewish-owned restaurant received a call from someone who asked about the “Kanye special” and then said, “Death to all Jews.”

On the first night of Hanukkah, a Texas man was arrested on suspicion of carving anti-Semitic Nazi symbols into the base of a large menorah in Beverly Hills. This was one of 1,288 vandalism incidents reported in 2022, an increase of 435 from the previous year, according to the ADL. Swastikas appeared in 792 of these incidents, a 37% more from 2021.

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