NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Eyewitness News heard exclusively Tuesday morning from the Anti-Defamation League as it released staggering new data on the rise of anti-Semitic hate crimes.
The ADL reports there were 51 incidents of anti-Semitic assaults in New York last year, representing a 325% increase over the year before.
It is the highest number of anti-Semitic assaults on record in New York State.
There were more anti-Semitic assaults in Brooklyn than anywhere else in America. Ultra-Orthodox residents in Williamsburg have been watching their backs for months.
The ADL says a lot of the hate spurring the alarming uptick has been generated on social media.
"Social media is a place where people can get their ideas out there," ADL Regional Director Scott Richman said. "They don't need to convince a newspaper, they don't need to convince a journalist or correspondent that that they want to get their ideas out there. They can just put it out there. They can find people who agree with them. They can radicalize people who don't yet agree with them."
The ADL also noted it saw a sharp increase in attacks targeting Jewish institutions, including acts of vandalism and harassment.
And while the group has seen an increase in reporting these incidents, underreporting remains a challenge for marginalized communities.
Nationwide, the ADL counted 2,717 anti-Semitic incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism in 2021, a 34% increase over the previous year and the highest number since tracking began in 1979.
The audit includes incidents of harassment, vandalism or assault that incorporated "anti-Israel and/or anti-Zionism themes" if they also express "classic anti-Jewish animus" or "demonize Jews as a group for real or perceived support of Israel," the organization said.
The ADL found that extremists groups or individuals, including white supremacists, were responsible for 484 incidents last year, up from 332 in 2020.
"There's been a general emboldening of white supremacists, of extremists, over the past few years," Richman said. "All of these have led to an increasing amount of anti-Semitism."
Officials said the distribution of anti-Semitic fliers, banners, stickers or written messages accounted for most of those incidents. They also included acts of vandalism and bomb threats to Jewish institutions.
The group's tally of total 2,717 incidents last year included 1,776 cases of harassment, a 43% increase from 1,242 in 2020.
The ADL also counted a 14% increase in vandalism cases (from 751 in 2020 to 853 last year) and a 167% increase in assault incidents (from 33 in 2020 to 88 last year). The 88 assault incidents involved 131 victims, none of whom were killed, the report says.
Ten years ago, just over 900 incidents were reported, nationwide. It's a number that stayed consistent, but after the 2016 election, that number jumped.
The data for its annual audit is compiled by evaluating information reported by news media, victims, law enforcement and community leaders, the group said, adding it avoids conflating general criticism of Israel or anti-Israel activism with anti-Semitism.
"However, Israel-related harassment of identifiable groups or individuals may be included when the harassment incorporated anti-Jewish references, accusations and/or conspiracy theories, or when American Jews are demonized for their real or perceived support of Israel," the report says.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
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