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Anti-Semitic Assaults Up by 55% in New York State in 2018, According to New ADL Report

  • April 30, 2019

New York, New York, April 30, 2019… According to new data released by ADL (the “Anti-Defamation League”) today, anti-Semitic assaults in New York State increased by 55 percent in 2018 over the previous year.

Of the 340 anti-Semitic incidents recorded last year, 17 were anti-Semitic assaults.  ADL also observed a marked increase in incidents of vandalism involving private property, from 23 incidents in 2017 to 31 incidents in 2018, and a rise in incidents on college campuses, from 23 incidents in 2017 to 32 incidents in 2018.  The number of incidents in K-12 schools—36—remained unchanged.

Nationally, anti-Semitic assaults increased by 105% in 2018.  Of these 39 anti-Semitic assaults reported, nearly half—17—took place in New York State.  ADL also observed a substantial 54% increase in anti-Semitic incidents in New York State following the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in October of last year, the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history.

While the number of anti-Semitic incidents decreased slightly overall in 2018, both nationally and in New York, ADL recorded 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents in 2018. This makes 2018 the third-highest year on record since ADL started tracking such data in the 1970s. Two hundred and forty-nine of these documented 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. New York State’s total number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2018 represents a 43% increase over the state’s average number of incidents recorded over the last decade.

“The anti-Semitic violence that we observed in 2018, not only in New York, but around the country, is truly alarming,” said Evan R. Bernstein, ADL’s New York/New Jersey Regional Director. “As we know from ADL’s Pyramid Of Hate, the more stereotyping, slurs, and bullying are normalized, the more conducive the climate becomes for acts of discrimination and even violence.  Every act of anti-Semitism and hate must continue to be called out and denounced by elected officials, community leaders, and all New Yorkers.”


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 York State:

  • 212 incidents of vandalism;
  • 111 incidents of harassment; and
  • 17 incidents of assault.


Anti-Semitic assaults rose by 55% in New York in 2018.  All 17 reported assaults took place within the five boroughs of New York City, with the large majority—13—occurring in Brooklyn, a hotspot for anti-Semitic activity.

Of the 212 incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism reported in 2018, 115 incidents 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.  In addition, 23 of the 31 incidents of vandalism against private property included swastikas found on homes, apartment buildings and vehicles, leaving victims particularly vulnerable in places where they expect to feel safe and secure.

“No one should ever have to live in fear of being violently attacked, physically harmed, or verbally harassed simply because of their culture or faith,” said Bernstein. “We must continue to denounce these horrific attacks and work together to create safe communities for all New Yorkers.”

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



Of the total number of anti-Semitic incidents reported in New York State, 70% took place in the five boroughs of New York City, up from 59% in 2017.  And of the 238 incidents that took place specifically in New York City, 111 occurred in Manhattan (an 11% increase relative to 2017), and 93 took place in Brooklyn (a 16% increase relative to 2017).  The majority of these incidents were acts of vandalism.

Anti-Semitic incidents by area:

  • Manhattan: 111
  • Brooklyn: 93
  • Queens: 20
  • Bronx: 5
  • Staten Island: 9
  • Long Island: 43
  • Westchester: 9
  • Rockland: 4
  • Upstate: 46

Acts of anti-Semitism have touched communities in 27 of the 62 counties in New York State.


The shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA on October 27, 2018 was a horrific tragedy for the entire Jewish community and all Americans.  In the 30 days that followed, there were 72 anti-Semitic incidents reported across New York State.  Incidents remained high through the remainder of 2018.  Indeed, during the fourth quarter of 2018, ADL recorded 143 incidents of anti-Semitism, a 170% increase relative to the prior quarter of 2018.  31% of all incidents in New York State in 2018 took place between the shooting and the end of the year.


Of the 68 anti-Semitic incidents that took place in K-12 schools, colleges and universities in New York in 2018, 40 were acts of vandalism.

K-12 Schools

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in K-12 schools—36—remained unchanged in 2018.  During the last quarter of the year, however, ADL documented a significant increase in reported incidents in K-12 schools relative to the same time period in 2017 (from 3 incidents in 2017 to 14 incidents in 2018).

“The shocking 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 York deserves a safe and respectful school environment, and we are proud to continue to work with schools across New York State to combat anti-Semitism and all forms of hate.”

Campus and University

New York State’s universities and colleges experienced a 39% increase in anti-Semitic incidents in 2018 (from 23 incidents in 2017 to 32 incidents in 2018).  One particularly concerning incident involved anti-Semitic vandalism targeting a Jewish professor at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College in the fall of 2018.



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, the city of Buffalo, with a population of more than 200,000, reported only eight hate crimes, none of which were anti-Semitic in nature.

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.



White supremacist groups continued to maintain an active presence in New York in 2018, using propaganda and flash demonstrations to communicate their hateful messages more broadly.  In 2018, ADL documented 67 white supremacist propaganda distribution incidents in New York State, 10 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 York State in 2018 were Identity Evropa, Patriot Front, Loyal White Knights and Daily Stormer Book Clubs.



ADL has developed a comprehensive approach to addressing anti-Semitic incidents in New York, 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 1,320 law enforcement officials last year and reached over 6,400 individuals and over 300 schools through our educational programming in New York in 2018.

“ADL has been fighting anti-Semitism and hate for over 100 years and we remain steadfastly committed to this critical mission more than ever,” said Bernstein. “In these troubling times, we are continuing to focus on partnering with community leaders, elected officials, law enforcement and schools to stand up to hate and bigotry.”


  • Speak out against anti-Semitism: In the aftermath of the deadliest anti-Semitic incident in American 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 York 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