ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents 2020
In 2020, ADL recorded 2,024 anti-Semitic incidents in the United States. While anti-Semitic incidents declined by 4 percent after hitting an all-time high in 2019, last year was the third-highest year for incidents against American Jews since ADL started tracking this data in 1979.
Incidents remained at historically high levels amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As lockdowns related to the pandemic began in March, incidents in schools and on college campuses decreased as learning moved online. “Zoombombing”—the intentional disruption of live videoconferences—rose significantly in 2020. ADL recorded 196 incidents of anti-Semitic videoconferencing attacks last year, of which 114 targeted Jewish institutions such as schools and synagogues.
In 2020, ADL counted a total of 2,024 anti-Semitic incidents across the U.S., a 4% percent decrease from the 2,107 incidents recorded in 2019.
ADL’s Audit classifies all incidents into three categories: assault, harassment and vandalism. Of the total incidents reported in 2020:
Harassment: There were 1,242 harassment incidents, cases where one or more Jews reported having been harassed by anti-Semitic language or actions. Acts of harassment increased by 10 percent from 1,127 in 2019.
Vandalism: There were 751 vandalism incidents, cases where property was damaged in a manner which that harmed or intimidated Jews. Swastikas, which are generally interpreted as symbols of anti-Semitic hatred, were present in 517 of these incidents. Acts of anti-Semitic vandalism decreased 18 percent, from 919 incidents in 2019.
Assault: There were 31 assault incidents, cases where individuals were physically targeted with violence accompanied by evidence of anti-Semitic animus. Antisemitic assault decreased by 49 percent from 61 in 2019. The assaults involved a total of 41 victims. No anti-Semitic fatalities were reported for the first year since 2017.
Source: “Audit of Antisemitic Incidents 2020,” ADL, (April 27, 2021).