Attacks on Jews Rose Amid Overall Increase in Hate Crimes During 2020, FBI Data Shows
Hate crimes in the United States during 2020 rose to a 12-year all time high according to FBI statistics released on Monday, with attacks on Jews accounting for nearly 60 percent of religiously motivated offenses.
A total of 676 hate crimes targeting Jews were recorded by the FBI during a year defined by the COVID-19 lockdown, which dramatically reduced social contact in public places. The data showed that of these offenses, 94 involved physical assaults, 34 of them aggravated.
The majority of antisemitic offenders — 166 — were white, with African-Americans accounting for 37 of the identified assailants.
The rise in attacks on American Jews comes within the context of a worrying rise in hate crimes overall. Attacks targeting Black people rose from 1,930 to 2,755, and the number targeting Asian people jumped from 158 to 274, the data showed. Attacks on the LGBTQ community also rose, with nearly 1,000 crimes reported.
The FBI recorded a total of 7,759 hate crimes in 2020 — a six percent rise on the previous year, and the most since 2008, when 7,783 hate crimes were reported. The number of crimes increased for the sixth consecutive year.
In a statement commenting on the FBI data, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said that while the numbers gathered “were disturbing on their own,” the total was likely underreported because several law enforcement agencies did not participate in the data gathering.
“The fact that so many law enforcement agencies did not participate is inexcusable, and the fact that over 60 jurisdictions with populations over 100,000 affirmatively reported zero hate crimes is simply not credible,” ADL chief executive Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “Data drives policy and without having a complete picture of the problem, we cannot even begin to resolve the issues driving this surge in hate and violence.”
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) said that the statistics demonstrated that fighting antisemitism was a “national priority.”
“For decades, we have cautioned that antisemitism is a rising threat and that it comes from multiple sources, including the far right, the hard left, and Islamist extremists,” the AJC said in a statement. “Fighting Jew-hatred in America must become a national priority and it must be a bipartisan and cross-communal effort.”