Study finds increase in anti-Semitism across Ohio

State News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A new report shows a sharp increase in 2020 of anti-Semitic incidents in Ohio.

The report, issued by the Anti-Defamation League, reports between 2019 and 2020, Ohio’s anti-Semitic incidents went up 72%.

According to the Annual ADL audit, the U.S. tracked more than 2,000 incidents, the third-highest annual total on record. Ohio saw its highest total in more than 40 years, since the ADL began auditing. These incidents include cases of harassment, vandalism, and assault.

“When it comes to anti-Semitic incidents, we are trending in the wrong direction and substantially in the wrong direction,” said James Pasch, regional director for the Anti-Defamation League.

Jewish Columbus said the numbers aren’t surprising because it has seen a rise in hate over the past few years. They also say many of the incidents go unreported.

“It is very concerning,” said Justin Shaw, director of Jewish Community Relations. “Whether it’s online or in person, hate is hate.”

A few notable incidents in 2020 include anti-Semitic signs and rhetoric used against Ohio’s former Director of Health Dr. Amy Acton. (Photos: KRForbes Photography)

“Those were not rallies rallying against the government shutdown, those rallies were highjacked by extremists and anti-Semites who are using them as opportunities to spread messages of hate,” Pasch said.

Pasch said there are several factors that may play in to why there is a rise in these incidents.

“Decline of civility among our elected leaders, the emboldening of hate groups, a rise of online hate and I think all of that contributes to the rise of anti-Semitic tropes,” he said.

Shaw said more education is one that can combat this kind of hate. He said although many in the Jewish community are concerned with these statistics, they won’t live in fear.

“It’s not going to stop us from practicing our religion, it’s not going to stop us from going to synagogue, whether it’s in person or virtually. We’re just not going to let hate win,” Shaw said.

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