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Anti-Semitic Incidents in New Jersey Are Third Highest in The Nation According to New ADL Report

  • April 30, 2019

New York, New York, April 30, 2019… New data released today by ADL (the “Anti-Defamation League”) reveals that 200 anti-Semitic incidents were documented across the state of New Jersey in 2018, the 3rd highest number of reported incidents anywhere in the nation.  ADL documented 208 anti-Semitic incidents in the state in 2017.

Incidents of anti-Semitic harassment remained high, with 94 incidents recorded in 2018, relative to 95 incidents recorded in 2017. Of the 94 incidents documented in 2018, 11 specifically targeted Jewish institutions, up from four the year prior. Anti-Semitic incidents in the state’s K-12 schools also increased to 63, up from 61 in 2017. This year’s total number of anti-Semitic incidents represents a 33% increase over New Jersey’s average number of recorded incidents over the last decade.

Nationally, ADL recorded 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents in 2018, making it the third-highest year on record since ADL started tracking such data in the 1970s. Two hundred and forty-nine of these incidents were attributable to activities by known extremist groups or by individuals inspired by extremist ideologies. This is the highest level of anti-Semitic incidents with known connections to extremists or extremist groups since 2004.

A startling increase in anti-Semitic incidents in New Jersey were recorded during the last quarter of 2018, including directly following the tragic shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA on October 27, 2018­­ – the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history. In the immediate aftermath of this tragedy, New Jersey saw a staggering 76% increase in anti-Semitic incidents in comparison to the exact same period in 2017, with 65 incidents, up from 37 the year before. During this same period after the tragedy, incidents of vandalism documented in New Jersey’s K-12 schools quadrupled to 21 incidents, up from 5 during the same period in 2017.

“We are deeply troubled and concerned that anti-Semitic incidents continue to occur in our communities with far too much regularity. Even one assault or one hateful remark is one too many,” said Evan R. Bernstein, ADL’s New York/New Jersey Regional Director, “No one should ever live with the fear that they will be assaulted or harassed simply because of their religion or faith. We must condemn this hateful behavior and continue to work together to make our communities safe for all New Jersey residents.”



Since 1979, ADL has documented anti-Semitism through its annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents.

In 2018, ADL’s Audit revealed the following in New Jersey:

  • 104 incidents of vandalism;
  • 94 incidents of harassment, including two bomb threats (one against a Jewish institution and one against a Jewish cemetery);
  • Two incidents of assault.

Of the 104 incidents of vandalism recorded in 2018, most took place in public areas, including parks, public transit, sidewalks and playgrounds, indicating that perpetrators feel emboldened to commit anti-Semitic acts in the open.  Vandalism against private property continues to be a serious concern, as it leaves victims particularly vulnerable in places where they expect to feel safe and secure. All 17 incidents of vandalism against private property involved swastikas found on residential homes, vehicles, apartment buildings and even on the campaign sign of a Jewish politician who ran for elected office. Notably, 14 incidents of harassment and vandalism were documented against Jewish institutions, including one bomb threat.

“ADL has been fighting anti-Semitism and hate for over 100 years, and we remain fully committed to this crucial mission as we continue to confront and expose all forms of bigotry, hate and extremism in New Jersey,” said Bernstein, “We must remain vigilant and speak up to denounce hate wherever and whenever it arises.”

Visit ADL’s H.E.A.T Map to learn more about the 2018 anti-Semitic incidents in New Jersey.



In 2018, 19 of 21 counties in New Jersey reported acts of anti-Semitism. Eight of these 21 counties saw an increase in incidents in 2018.

Counties with Largest Recorded Incidents of Anti-Semitism in 2018:

  • Bergen: 36
  • Middlesex: 23
  • Ocean: 21
  • Union: 19 (217% increase from 6 incidents in 2017)
  • Burlington: 18
  • Monmouth: 18
  • Passaic: 7 (250% increase from 2 incidents in 2017)

67% of all New Jersey incidents were documented in Bergen, Middlesex, Ocean, Union, Monmouth and Burlington Counties.



In the aftermath of the horrific and tragic shooting that took place at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA, on October 27, 2018, there were 65 anti-Semitic acts reported in New Jersey, accounting for 33% of the total number of incidents documented in New Jersey in 2018. Incidents of vandalism, including swastikas, during this period increased by 91% (to 42 incidents), up from 22 incidents the year before.


K-12 Incidents

K-12 schools saw sustained levels of anti-Semitic incidents in 2018, with a total of 63 incidents, 27 of which were harassment and 36 of which were incidents of vandalism, including swastikas found on school properties. Troublingly, close to half of the incidents documented in K-12 schools took place immediately following the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue and continued until the end of the year.

“The alarming increase in anti-Semitic acts in schools following the tragedy in Pittsburgh are a prime example of the need for strong anti-bias educational programming in our K-12 schools,” said Bernstein, “Every student in New Jersey deserves a safe and respectful school environment, and we are proud to continue to work with schools across the state to combat anti-Semitism and all forms of hate.”

University and Campus Incidents

In 2018, eight anti-Semitic incidents were recorded on New Jersey college and university campuses, with five of these occurring at Rutgers University, where swastikas were discovered in a residence hall and campus restrooms.



White supremacist groups continued to maintain an active presence in New Jersey in 2018, primarily convening online or in private locations, and then using propaganda and flash demonstrations to communicate their hateful messages more broadly.  In 2018, ADL documented 41 white supremacist propaganda distribution incidents, seven of which were anti-Semitic in nature.

At a national level, 249 anti-Semitic incidents were attributable to extremist groups or individuals inspired by extremist ideologies. This is the highest level of anti-Semitic incidents with known connections to extremists or extremist groups documented by ADL since 2004.  The most active groups in New Jersey in 2018 were Identity Evropa, New Jersey European Heritage Association (NJEHA), Loyal White Knights, Patriot Front and Daily Stormer.



Underreporting continues to be a challenge in many communities, as victims of bias crimes and anti-Semitic incidents are often reluctant to come forward.  At the same time, we know that there is significant underreporting of hate crimes to the FBI, particularly where reporting remains voluntary by law enforcement agencies.  By way of example only, in 2017, both Paterson and Newark, both with populations well over 100,000, reported zero hate crimes to the FBI.

ADL encourages all members of the public to report incidents of anti-Semitism to local law enforcement and directly to ADL here: Report an Anti-Semitic, Bias or Discriminatory Incident

For more information on underreporting, visit ADL’s Hate Crime Map



ADL has developed a comprehensive approach to addressing anti-Semitic incidents in New Jersey, which includes anti-bias and anti-bullying education in K-12 schools, building coalitions among diverse organizations and communities to advocate against government policies, organizations, and people that promote anti-Semitism, racism, and bigotry, and working closely with law enforcement when incidents of hate take place. ADL trained 275 law enforcement officials and reached nearly 1,000 individuals through our educational programming in New Jersey in 2018.



  • Speak out against anti-Semitism:In the aftermath of the deadliest anti-Semitic incident in U.S. history, public officials and civic leaders should use their bully pulpits to speak out against anti-Semitism and all forms of hate and extremism. Simply put, you cannot say it often enough: New Jersey is no place for hate.
  • Legislative Hearings: Congress should hold additional hearings on the increase in hate crimes, the rise of extremist groups and proliferation of their propaganda, and support legislation, including the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, that calls on the federal government to improve coordinated responses and collect data on domestic terrorism.
  • Ensure proper reporting and investigation of hate-related incidents: Policymakers must support efforts to provide law enforcement officials with the tools and training they need to prevent and effectively respond to hate crimes. Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies should also improve their procedures for responding to and reporting hate crimes.
  • Prioritize anti-bias curriculum in schools: School districts should promote anti-bias and bullying prevention programs in elementary and secondary schools. Congress, the U.S. Department of Education, state legislators and mayors should increase funding to promote an inclusive school climate and for anti-bias education and hate crime prevention.



The ADL Audit includes both criminal and non-criminal acts of harassment and intimidation, including distribution of hate propaganda, threats, and slurs.  Compiled using information provided by victims, law enforcement, and community leaders, and evaluated by ADL’s professional staff, the Audit provides a regular snapshot of one specific aspect of a nationwide problem, while identifying possible trends or changes in the types of activity reported.  This information assists ADL in developing and enhancing its programs to counter and prevent the spread of anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism 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. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate. Follow us on Twitter: @ADL_NYNJ