There were 96 anti-Semitic incidents in Pennsylvania last year, which is a 43 percent increase from 2016. This is the largest single-year increase in anti-Semitic incidents recorded by the Anti-Defamation League in the past decade.
A new report from the ADL found that the United States as a whole saw a 57 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents from 2016 to 2017. With close to 100 anti-Semitic incidents, Pennsylvania was ranked sixth on the list of the states with the most anti-Semitic incidents in 2017. The states with the highest number of incidents include: New York (380), California (268), and New Jersey (208).
As stated in the ADL report, Pennsylvania experienced five straight years of declining reports of anti-Semitic incidents from 2008 to 2012. But in the last five years, the state has seen an increasing number of incidents.
“We cannot ignore the recent eruption of anti-Semitism in Pennsylvania,” Nancy K. Baron-Baer, ADL Regional Director for Pennsylvania and New Jersey said in reference to the report. “In two short years, anti-Semitism in the Commonwealth has gone from historic lows to decade-long highs."
However, Baron-Baer also said in an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer that the dramatic increase in anti-Semitic incidents may partly be a result of an increased awareness of hate crimes and more effective reporting systems.
The data from this report was gathered by analyzing state police reports and accounts given directly to the ADL and similar organizations.
Most of the anti-Semitic incidents in Pennsylvania were cases of vandalism or harassment.
In Philadelphia County, according to the ADL report, more than one hundred tombstones were overturned at a Jewish cemetery, various synagogues were defaced, and the apartment building of two Jewish people was spray painted with a swastika.
Penn has not been isolated from these incidents. In April of last year, anti-Semitic flyers were distributed across Penn's campus. The flyers were reportedly distributed by the neo-Nazi hate group AtomWaffen Division, which has more recently been linked to the alleged killer of College sophomore Blaze Bernstein.
“Every person is a stakeholder in the fight against anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry,” Baron-Baer said to the Inquirer. “Law enforcement in the region has pursued hate crimes vigorously, and we must continue to support their efforts."