ADL: White Supremacist Propaganda Hits All-Time High in New York and Nationwide in 2020
National average of 14 incidents per day; 79% increase in incidents in New York
New York, NY, March 17, 2021 … White supremacist propaganda distribution surged across the United States in 2020, with a total 5,125 cases of racist, antisemitic and other hateful messages reported by ADL (the Anti-Defamation League). Last year marked the highest level of incidents reported since ADL began tracking such data – an average of about 14 incidents per day, and nearly double the 2,724 cases reported in 2019. Here in New York, ADL recorded 308 incidents of white supremacist propaganda in 2020, a 79% increase from 172 documented incidents in 2019.
ADL’s Center on Extremism (COE) tracked the distribution of racist, antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ+ fliers, stickers, posters and banners by various members of far right and white supremacist groups. The annual report found that at least 30 known white supremacist groups were behind hate propaganda efforts, affecting 49 states in 2020.
“Hate propaganda is a tried-and-true tactic for white supremacists, and this on the ground activity is now higher than we’ve ever previously recorded,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “White supremacists appear to be more emboldened than ever, and the election year, the pandemic and other factors may have provided these extremists with additional encouragement.”
In 2020, hate propaganda appeared in every state except Hawaii, with the highest levels of activity in Texas (574), Washington (345), California (333), New Jersey (323), New York (308), Massachusetts (276), Virginia (249), and Pennsylvania (238). ADL’s H.E.A.T. Map provides a visual representation of the propaganda distribution efforts by geographic location and can be used to highlight other specific trends.
“The steep rise in hateful propaganda in New York is truly alarming,” said Scott Richman, ADL NY/NJ Regional Director. “These messages of hate serve to spread fear and recruit even more people to the cause. We must act quickly to stem the tide with a whole of society approach to counter these indoctrination efforts.”
Some key data points from the report:
- Throughout 2020, at least 30 white supremacist groups distributed propaganda, but three groups — Patriot Front, New Jersey European Heritage Association and Nationalist Social Club — were responsible for 92 percent of the activity. The Texas-based Patriot Front, a white supremacist hate group that espouses antisemitism and racism, was responsible for 4,105 of the incidents, or 80 percent of all propaganda incidents nationwide.
- ADL recorded 283 incidents that included antisemitic language or specifically targeted Jewish institutions, marking a 68 percent increase from 2019.
- There were at least 130 incidents of white supremacist banner drops, a significant increase from the 53 recorded in 2019.
- In 2020, ADL documented 56 white supremacist events, a 26 percent decrease from the 76 events in 2019. More than half of the events (29) were privately planned, unannounced flash demonstrations orchestrated for quick photo and video opportunities that are then used to create online content. The largest white supremacist event in 2020 involved approximately 100 Patriot Front members in a February flash demonstration on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
- There were 303 incidents of white supremacist propaganda distribution on college campuses, marking a steep decline from 630 in 2019. No large campaigns focused on campuses this year, most likely because of the pandemic and a lack of students on physical campuses.
- In New York, white supremacist propaganda was documented across the state, including in Buffalo (2), Rochester (2), Syracuse (1), Albany(1), White Plains (3), Poughkeepsie (11), Beacon (5), Newburgh (5), Queens (13), Brooklyn (32), Manhattan (16), Long Beach (5), and Selden (2).
“Propaganda gives white supremacists the ability to maximize media and online attention while limiting their risk of exposure or arrest,” said Oren Segal, VP of ADL’s Center on Extremism. “The literature helps to bolster recruitment efforts and spreads fear by targeting specific groups, including the Jewish, Black, Muslim and LGBTQ+ communities, as well as non-white immigrants.”
In response to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by insurrectionists and the overall increase in domestic terrorism in recent years, ADL recently announced the PROTECT Plan to mitigate this threat while protecting civil liberties.
For more information, see the full report, “White Supremacist Propaganda Spikes in 2020”
For region-specific data and additional information on the incidents, visit ADL’s H.E.A.T Map.
To speak with an expert or for more information, contact ADL’s Communications team at firstname.lastname@example.org
ADL is a leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of antisemitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. ADL is the first call when acts of antisemitism occur. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education and fighting hate online, ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate. More at www.adl.org.
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