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December 13, 2022 4:50 pm

Jewish Nonprofit Accuses FBI of Understating Antisemitic Hate Crime Statistics


avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 25, 2022. REUTERS/Leah Millis

The Louis Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law on Tuesday criticized the FBI for issuing incomplete statistics on antisemitic hate crimes.

The group contested the FBI’s recent report, Hate Crime in the United States Incident Analysis for 2021, which it released earlier this week, calling the bureau’s process for gathering data on antisemitic hate crimes “essentially useless” because it said  antisemitic hate crimes decreased in 2021, when, according to organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, they had in fact increased by 59 percent.

The discrepancy in data collected by local governments was caused because several states, including California, Florida, and New York, did not report their data on antisemitic hate crimes to the bureau’s National Incident-Based Reporting System, resulting in, for example, 198 incidents in New York from that year to go uncounted, The Brandeis Center said.

Twenty percent fewer jurisdictions, 11,883, reported their data to the FBI in 2021 when compared to 2020, when 15,138 did, the Brandeis Center added.

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Such omissions are “colossal” Brandeis Center chairman Kenneth L. Marcus told The Algemeiner on Tuesday.

“The new FBI hate crime statistics are materially false and the FBI knows it,” he said. “The numbers are simply wrong because so many major jurisdictions failed to report and the FBI construed that failure to report as a zero.”

Marcus also said that it “is not unusual to find errors in government data repositories,”  but argued that the extent of the mistake could undermine the public’s trust in the bureau’s reporting.

“Anyone who was reading the newspapers during May of 2021 should remember highly publicized incidents of anti-Jewish hate crimes in New York, Los Angeles, and parts of Florida,” Marcus continued. “It is absolutely necessary for the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigations to correct this data. If they don’t, and if they don’t do it quickly, this should be on the top of the list for Congressional oversight come January.”

Antisemitic incidents in 2021 occurred at the highest numbers ever recorded, according to the latest annual audit by the ADL carried out in April, which began collecting data on them in 1979. Substantial increases in physical assaults were recorded, as well as over 1,500 incidents of harassment and vandalism.

A “surge” of incidents occurred during the war between Israel and Hamas, with 387 being reported across the country.

“Jews were being attacked in the streets for no other reason than the fact that they were Jewish, and it seemed as if the working assumption was that if you were Jewish, you were blameworthy for what was happening half a world away,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement at the time.

Antisemitic incidents occurred in all 50 states, including the District of Columbia. Five states, New York (416), New Jersey (370), California (367), Florida (190), Michigan (112) and Texas (112), accounted for 58 percent of the total number counted.

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