March 6, 2018 By Tara Law
The number of anti-Semitic incidents in Queens nearly tripled in 2017, according to a study by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a national nonprofit that guards against anti-Semitism.
A total of 234 anti-Semitic incidents took place in New York City in 2017, a 90 percent increase. About 75 percent of all incidents took place in Manhattan and Brooklyn, although Queens experienced the largest uptick— from 11 to 39.
The increase in New York is symptomatic of a national trend. The ADL recorded 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents nationally in 2017, a 57 percent increase over 2016. The uptick represented the biggest year-to-year increase in anti-Semitic incidents since the organization began recording them in the 1970s.
These incidents included the smashing of the glass windows of Khal Adas Yereim, a Kew Gardens synagogue, in August.
More anti-Semitic incidents take place in New York than in any other state, according to the ADL. One out of every five anti-Semitic incidents and more than half of assaults nationally took place in New York.
Deborah Gregor, executive director of the Forest Hills Jewish Center, said that she had not heard of any anti-Semitic attacks in the immediate neighborhood. She said that the center periodically looks into its security procedures.
However, Gregor said that she worried that hate speech has become more visible and acceptable in public discourse.
“I don’t think people’s hearts have changed, I think people have just decided to spew the hate that’s in their hearts,” said Gregor. “It’s a frightening time.”
Congresswoman Grace Meng, who represents a district that stretches from Kew Gardens to Flushing, said in a press release that she was “deeply disturbed” by the findings.
“As Americans, we must come together and stop these anti-Semitic attacks,” said Meng.