TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), antisemitic incidents have risen 36% across the country.
Illinois incidents rose 128% while Indiana’s rose 108%, both alarming numbers.
Troy Fears, Executive Director of Candles Holocaust Museum said seven of those incidents took place locally in Terre Haute, with four of those directed at the museum.
“Most of the incidents that have happened here (recently) were nothing like the firebombing that happened in 2003 but were some white supremacist propaganda type incidents that occurred. And so, every time it does occur it’s a little bit unsettling and it’s something that we as a community don’t want to tolerate and don’t want to accept and we’re not going to,” he said.
In 2003 the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center was targeted by an arsonist. The building was graffitied, and a fire was set destroying the original museum founded by Holocaust survivor, Eva Kor.
The ADL puts out an annual audit, and this year’s findings deeply concern leaders at CANDLES.
Suzanne Rothenberg, Associate Regional Director for ADL says that data drives advocacy.
“While we just released our numbers, we’re really well aware that they’re probably underreported,” she said.
Rothenberg added that due to those unreported incidents, it’s very important for ADL to continue tracking the data.
“It’s really important for our allies and our neighbors to speak up for us,” she added.
On behalf of CANDLES, Fears said, “we’re going to come out and talk about it and let people know that it’s not a good thing to obviously be spreading this propaganda, this negative hate speech around our community.”
The audit shows these acts of hate are trending in the wrong direction.
“Antisemitic incidents are incidents of hate,” Rothenberg said. “And incidents of hate are a little bit different than regular everyday crimes in the sense that they are intended to intimidate an entire community. So, we’re talking about tens of thousands of people every time one of these incidents happen,” she added.
Rothenberg said it is important to note that 2022 had the highest levels of antisemitic incidences that the ADL has seen since they started measuring the data in the late seventies.
“We’re seeing these instances coming from across the political spectrum,” she added.
Fears said, “We need to educate ourselves and learn about the dangers of antisemitism and the messages that that can send.”
He went on to call on residents and organizations to work toward a world where hate and violence have no place.