ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents 2021
- In 2021, ADL tabulated 2,717 anti-Semitic incidents throughout the United States. This is a 34% increase from the 2,026 incidents tabulated in 2020 and the highest number on record since ADL began tracking anti-Semitic incidents in 1979.
- Of the 2,717 incidents recorded in 2021, 1,776 were cases of harassment, a 43% increase from 1,242 in 2020, and 853 incidents were cases of vandalism, a 14% increase from 751 in 2020. The 88 incidents of anti-Semitic assault (a 167% increase from 33 in 2020), involved 131 victims; none of the assaults were deadly.
- In 2021, there were no assaults perpetrated against the Jewish community that resulted in mass causalities. Of the physical assaults against Jewish individuals, the vast majority (77 of 88) were perpetrated without the use of a deadly weapon.
- The surge of incidents in May 2021 coincided with the military conflict between Israel and Hamas. For the entire month, 387 anti-Semitic incidents were tabulated by ADL, 297 of which occurred between May 10 – the official start of military action – and the end of the month, an increase of 141% over the same period in 2020. Of the 297 incidents, there were 211 cases of harassment, 71 cases of vandalism and 15 assaults.
- In 2021, 345 anti-Semitic incidents involved references to Israel or Zionism, compared to 178 in 2020. Of 2021’s 345 anti-Zionist/anti-Israel- related incidents, 68 took the form of propaganda efforts by white supremacist groups to foment anti-Israel and anti-Semitic beliefs. Most of the remaining incidents were expressions of anti-Israel animus that incorporated anti-Semitic imagery or harassment and demonization of Jews for their connection – real or assumed – to Israel.
- Incidents in K-12 schools, colleges and universities increased in 2021 but were flat compared to the five-year average. In 2021, ADL logged 331 incidents at non-Jewish K-12 schools (up 106% from 161 in 2020), and 155 incidents at colleges and universities (up 21% from 128 in 2020).
- In 2021, there were 525 logged incidents at Jewish institutions such as synagogues, Jewish community centers, and Jewish schools, an increase of 61% from 327 in 2020. 413 were incidents of harassment, 101 were incidents of vandalism and 11 were incidents of assault. Of the 413 incidents of harassment, 111 were anti-Zionism/anti-Israel-related, 42 were Zoombombings and 24 were extremist-related. Of the 101 incidents of vandalism, 33 involved a swastika and 10 were related to anti-Zionism/Anti-Israel sentiment.
- In 2021, ADL recorded 484 anti-Semitic incidents attributed to known right-wing extremist groups or individuals inspired by right-wing extremist ideology. This represents 18% of the total number of incidents. White supremacist groups, for example, were responsible for 422 anti-Semitic propaganda distributions. This is a 52% increase from 277 in 2020. Other extremist activity included incidents instigated by the Goyim Defense League, a loose network of individuals connected by their virulent antisemitism.
- Of the 2,717 incidents included in the 2021 Audit of Antisemitic incidents, 494 were identified through newly established partnerships between ADL and several Jewish organizations, including the Community Security Initiative (CSI), Community Security Service (CSS), Hillel International, Secure Community Network (SCN), Union of Reform Judaism and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. This shared reporting represents 18% of the total number of incidents in 2021. Even without the additional reporting from partners, the 2021 Audit numbers would have been the highest recorded by ADL, with 2,223 incidents.
The complete dataset for anti-Semitic incidents for 2016-2021 is available on ADL’s H.E.A.T. Map, an interactive online tool that allows users to geographically chart anti-Semitic incidents and extremist activity nationally and regionally. Some details have been removed from the incident listings to protect victims’ privacy.
Source: “Audit of Antisemitic Incidents 2021,” ADL, (April 2022).