Anti-Semitic incidents in New England are up more than 100% this year, according to numbers released this week by the Anti-Defamation League.
In 2015, an average of five such incidents occurred each month, while so far this year, there have been over 10 each month. The increase is "fueled by vandalism, harassment, and other acts at schools and colleges," reports the Boston Globe.
“Clearly, people are acting out on some long-held stereotypes and hatred toward Jews," said Robert Trestan, director of the New England Regional Office of the ADL, "and it’s designed to send a message of intimidation. We’re increasingly living in an environment where incivility is becoming common and accepted practice.”
In April, Newton's Mayor Setti Warren called a public forum to discuss ways to respond to the rising anti-Semitism in the city – though he did not use that term in his advance letter to residents about the forum. Despite this, most of the discussion at the forum did, in fact, center around the growing anti-Semitism in Newton, and particularly in its schools.
Of the 56 incidents so far this year, the vast majority, 47, occurred in Massachusetts. Half of these occurred at public and private schools and college campuses.
Among this year's incidents:
- Catholic Memorial High School basketball fans taunted Newton students at a game with chants of “You killed Jesus.”
- Anti-Semitic graffiti and a swastika were scrawled at a Newton school yard.
- North of Boston, swastikas were painted in several places.
- Anti-Semitic fliers were sent to students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Northeastern University.
- Most famously, Tzipi Livni a former Foreign Minister of Israel, and currently a Member of Knesset, was jeered several weeks ago during a lecture at Harvard and called “smelly” by a student.
- Synagogues were defaced with a swastika (in Andover) and with a large dollar sign and the words “Merry Christmas” (in Beverly).
In an alarmingly related item, Jewish leaders view with various measures of concern the anti-Semitism seemingly present in presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign.