A new report found antisemitism is on the rise across the U.S., but awareness of its detriment is rising as well.
The report from the American Jewish Committee showed 91% of Americans know antisemitism is a serious problem. According to the New York City Police Department, hate crimes against Jewish people increased 11% from 2021 to 2022.
Holly Huffnagle, U.S. director for combating antisemitism at the American Jewish Committee, thinks it is great more people are aware of antisemitism’s harm, but she pointed out one issue in trying to combat it is people cannot always identify it.
“Many people, they might have been familiar with the term, but they don’t know what antisemitism looks like or how to recognize it,” Huffnagle explained. “That it’s not just a hatred, that it’s a conspiracy. That it’s about power or control, and it looks different than other forms of racism. So, we, in our efforts, in our educational efforts, we always start with just being able to recognize it. “
Huffnagle noted there are a slew of factors driving the rise in antisemitism, the most prevalent being social media. The report found 82% of Americans saw some form of antisemitism on social media, and 67% of American Jewish people reported seeing it online as well.
Allaying fears of violence for Jewish people has not been easy. The report showed 38% of Jewish people changed their behavior out of fear of antisemitism. Huffnagle emphasized there are plenty of questions about where antisemitism fits into ongoing fights against racism.
“There’s a blind spot in our society today with rightly fighting racism and victims who are perceived as inferior,” Huffnagle contended. “Unfortunately, Jews are still a vulnerable minority group around the world. So, something’s missing when it comes to how do we fight antisemitism, how do we know who Jews are, and how do we include them within diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives?”
She added when it comes to combating antisemitism, law enforcement needs to be better at keeping Jewish people safe.
Of the Orthodox Jewish people surveyed, 65% say law enforcement is effective in addressing their security needs, down from 81% in 2021. Huffnagle stressed the next steps are for society, alongside government officials and law enforcement, to take responsibility to educate people properly about antisemitism and Jewish people.
Edwin is a reporter and producer in North Tonawanda, New York. He’s previously reported for the Niagara Gazette and the Ithaca Times. Edwin got an early start in radio interning for WBFO-88.7FM, NPR’s Buffalo affiliate. In 2018, he graduated from SUNY Buffalo State College with a B.A. in Journalism, and in 2022, graduated from Syracuse University with an M.S. in Communications.