Crime & Justice

Anti-Semitic incidents on the rise nationally, down in CA, report finds

A new report shows the number of reported anti-Semitic acts in California has dropped slightly over the last couple years — while increasing nationally.

The Anti-Defamation League released its annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents Wednesday, citing a total of 941 incidents in 2015, up 3 percent from 912 incidents in 2014 nationally. While California's numbers went down from 184 incidents in 2014 to 175 in 2015, the state still has the second-highest amount of anti-Semitic incidents reported in the country. 

Some of the anti-Semitic incidents happened locally in Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Riverside. 

In June 2015 a man in Santa Monica was seen yelling, “Wish all Jews were dead,” and “Jews are dirty liars and thieves," according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Another incident in the San Fernando Valley involved a post on the social media app Yik Yak saying, "Someone call ISIS for pest management," after Pierce College's Hillel club tabled on campus. 

The report isn't a scientific study. The figures are based on the amount of evidence submitted to the Anti-Defamation League, either by law enforcement officials, victims or community members, said Amanda Susskind, the Pacific Southwest regional director for the organization.

The incidents include criminal and non-criminal acts, and are grouped into three categories: vandalism, harassment and threats, and assaults. All the information is evaluated by the Anti-Defamation League's staff.

Anti-Semitism made its way into the news in March when a slew of offensive flyers began printing from network-connected printers at college campuses across the country — including USC. 

Susskind described one incident at UCLA that garnered a significant amount of attention when a young woman seeking a position on a judicial council was asked whether she would be able to make fair judgements on campus matters as a member of the Jewish community. 

“The incident itself got so much press and play that you wonder if it is breeding a new era of unbridled anti-Semitism coming out," Susskind told KPCC. 

The woman ended up qualifying for the position. The council recanted and apologized, Susskind said, but the apology did not receive as much media attention.

Courtesy of the Anti-Defamation League

The report found that 90 of the incidents occurred on 60 college campuses in 2015, compared to 47 incidents on 43 campuses in 2014. In March, the University of California approved a new statement on anti-Semitism that made it a form of intolerance that campus leaders must challenge. The decision came after complaints that school administrators were not condemning anti-Semitism on campuses. 

“It’s hard to asses whether more people are reporting, or whether there’s actually more going on," Susskind said.