The NYPD has stepped up police presence in predominantly Jewish neighborhoods in New York City in response to an upward trend of anti-Semitic hate crimes, which interest groups have called “an epidemic.”
Lawmakers and watchdogs from countries across the world have expressed concern over a global rise of anti-Semitism that has been linked to more than 380 incidents last year, including several deadly attacks.
Details from witnesses reported hours after the attack painted a picture of a terrifying scene, but lawmakers and interest groups responded with additional concerns that the attack is just the latest in a disturbing uptick of anti-Semitic incidents in New York and around the world.
The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is at the forefront of the city’s efforts to investigate and prevent reported daily incidents, which include swastikas spray-painted onto synagogues, individuals yelling slurs on the street, and others physically confronting men and women dressed in traditional religious garb.
In addition to measures by city police to increase security in communities and synagogues, the Anti-Defamation League has been among the organizations to launch a formal response to the uptick in attacks, launching anti-bias education in 40 schools across Brooklyn for the 2019-2020 school year.
However, anti-hate interest groups are concerned that this might not be enough to tackle the apparent rise of anti-Semitism in New York and other states and cities.
Oren Segal, vice president of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning that New York City’s Jewish community was undergoing “an epidemic,” and though police and targeted task forces were deploying more resources to protect the community, “we still have a long way to go, seeing the spate of anti-Semitism in the city.”
New York is a key site for the global threat of anti-Semitism
As noted anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise, international political movements and online communities that propagate hate-based content have been called into concern as authorities try and tackle hate beyond the streets of New York.
A May 2018 report by the ADL that analyzed anti-Semitic posts on Twitter found at least 4.2 million anti-Semitic tweets were shared or re-shared on Twitter over one year.
In a statement issued after the attack in Monsey, American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris also described an “epidemic of antisemitic attacks” as a danger to Jewish communities that reflects a larger threat of hate spreading throughout society and all of its members.
“Antisemitism must never be seen as a uniquely Jewish phenomenon,” Harris wrote. “It is not. It is a virus that, as we at AJC have been saying since time immemorial, may begin with targeting Jews, but, ultimately, also seeks to destroy the pluralistic fabric of our democratic societies.”
Harris also warned of apparent rising anti-Semitism around the world, which reportedly included 387 instances of physical attacks, threats, and vandalism across Western Europe that marked 2018 with the “highest number of incidents reported in major Western democracies including the United States, France, Britain, and Germany,” according to Reuters.