TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A local organization says it is “deeply concerned” about the results of a recent audit performed by the Anti-Defamation League.

CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center, explained in their release that the ADL’s audit found a 36% increase in antisemitic incidents across the country last year. Locally those numbers are even higher with Indiana and Illinois seeing a surge of antisemitic incidents.

Specific state-by-state totals include: 

  • Illinois: 128% increase from 2021 to 2022 (53 to 121)  
  • Indiana: 106% increase from 2021 to 2022 (16 to 33) 

CANDLES officials recorded seven antisemitic incidents occurring in Terre Haute alone during 2022, some directly targeting the CANDLES Museum. CANDLES Executive Director Troy Fears called on residents and organizations to take a vocal stand against antisemitism and other forms of hate.

“We call on all individuals and organizations to join us in combating these alarming levels of antisemitism and working towards a world where hate and violence have no place,” CANDLES Executive Director Troy Fears said.

This escalation in antisemitic incidents comes just as ADL has reported on Americans’ highest level of antisemitic attitudes in decades. According to ADL’s 2023 report Antisemitic Attitudes in America, 20% of Americans believe six or more antisemitic tropes, which is significantly more than the 11% that ADL found in 2019. Although a causal link between antisemitic attitudes and antisemitic activity has not been proven, it would not be surprising if some antisemites have become emboldened to act on their hatred in the current environment. This dramatic increase also occurs just as the FBI released its 2021 hate crime data (a year behind this report) showing that Jews remain the single most targeted religious minority in America. 

ADL Audit of Antisemitic Incidents 2022

The ADL lists the 9 antisemitic assaults as follows;

The nine assaults took place in four states; five in New York, two in New Jersey, one in Oregon and one in Texas:

– A gunman took several hostages in Congregation Beth Israel (see below). (January 2022; Colleyville, TX)
– As Jewish students were getting off a school bus in front of their religious school, an individual grabbed the kippah (skullcap) off the head of one of the children. (April 2022; Brooklyn, NY)
– A Hassidic Jewish school bus driver was shot with a BB gun by a group of teens while the door to his bus was open. (May 2022; Brooklyn, NY)
– A Jewish individual was shot with a BB gun by a person driving by in a car while he was walking in front of a synagogue. (May 2022; Brooklyn, NY)
– An assailant threw a rock at a Jewish person standing in front of a synagogue. (August 2022; Union City, NJ)
– A congregant who was leaving a synagogue in Portland was approached by two individuals in the parking lot, one of whom punched him several times. (September 2022; Portland, OR)
– The same assailant who threw a rock at a Jewish person in front of a synagogue in August 2022 did the same thing two weeks later. The suspect was apprehended. (September 2022; Union City, NJ)
– A security guard at a synagogue as well as the synagogue’s superintendent were assaulted by an individual after they asked him to leave the premises. (September 2022; Manhattan, NY)
– A Jewish teenager who was standing in front of the Chabad headquarters in Brooklyn was approached by a woman and slapped in an unprovoked attack. (October 2022, Brooklyn, NY)

ADL Audit of Antisemitic Incidents 2022

In addition to other forms of antisemitism, a huge rise in white supremacy-related propaganda was seen over the last year, going from 422 incidents in 2021 to 852 in 2022, according to the audit.

“This massive uptick was largely due to the growth of the Goyim Defense League (GDL) and its accelerated tempo of antisemitic propaganda campaigns. The GDL network, which has significant crossover with other white supremacist groups and movements, was responsible for at least 492 propaganda incidents in 2022, a dramatic increase from the 74 GDL antisemitic propaganda incidents recorded in 2021,” the report states.

The ADL notes that extremists used fliers, posters, stickers, banners and graffiti to share their antisemitic views.

“In Florida, NatSoc Florida and GDL used laser projectors to cast antisemitic messages on buildings on at least seven occasions. Individuals associated with GDL, Crew 562 and Crew 319 drove around in moving vans draped with antisemitic propaganda,” the report reads.

For CANDLES and Director Fears, groups specifically targeting people of the Jewish faith isn’t a new development.

“As an institution committed to promoting education about the Holocaust and other genocides, we recognize the danger of ideologies that espouse violence to advance white supremacy, neo-Nazism, and other exclusionary cultural-religious beliefs,” Fears said.  “We are significantly concerned by the continued threat posed by these groups to individuals and societies around the world, including right here in Terre Haute.”

To read the full report including a breakdown of incidents referencing Ye (formerly Kanye West), White Lives Matter, and Black Hebrew Israelite groups view the ADL’s audit page here. For a look at their country-wide HEAT map click here.