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    Wednesday, May 22, 2024

    Conn. saw 170% increase in antisemitic incidents in 2023, ADL says

    A swastika was found carved in the Darien Train station in October. Antisemitic propaganda was found in several towns across the state, including Glastonbury, Danbury, Trumbull and Stamford. An Israeli flag was stolen in Wilton in November.

    These were just a few of the 184 antisemitic incidents the Anti-Defamation League said were recorded in Connecticut in 2023, an increase of 170 percent from the year before.

    That's a steeper increase than the ADL tracked nationwide. In all, the organization tracked 8,873 incidents nationwide that it regards as antisemitic in 2023 — a 140 percent increase over 2022. Of them, 5,204 took place after Oct. 7, when Palestinian militants of Hamas attacked Israel, beginning a months-long war that has yet to end.

    In the three-month period between Oct. 7 and the end of 2023, ADL recorded more incidents nationwide than in any full year on record since the organization began collecting data on antisemitic incidents in 1979.

    Across the country, there were 3,162 antisemitic incidents that included references to Israel or Zionism in 2023, compared to 241 in 2022, the organization found.

    In Connecticut, the ADL said there were antisemitic incidents in 82 communities, including 25 bomb threats at synagogues, 72 incidents in publicly owned areas such as parks and train stations and 17 incidents on college campuses. Of the 184 total incidents in Connecticut, there were 115 recorded incidents of harassment and 69 incidents of vandalism.

    That's above the total number of antisemitic incidents recorded by the ADL in Connecticut over the previous four years combined. Between 2019 and 2022, the organization recorded 163 antisemitic incidents in the state, the highest in 2022.

    "It has been a really challenging time," said ADL Connecticut Regional Director Stacey Sobel. "The staggering increase is a message that we really need to be paying attention to the increase in hate and particularly anti semitism in our communities in our state and the nation."

    Sobel believes that children are accessing hate speech and antisemitic messages on social media platforms, often independent of their families.

    "We sometimes have parents come to us crying and upset because their child was a perpetrator of an antisemitic act in a school," she said. "They're like, 'We don't teach our children this. This is not who we are. What is going on? Why is my child saying this? Why is my child doing this?' It's a very confusing time for families."

    Included in the ADL's audit are both criminal and non-criminal acts of harassment and intimidation, distribution of hate propaganda, threats and slurs, as well as vandalism and assault.

    There were no recorded antisemitic assaults in Connecticut, though nationwide, the number of assault incidents increased by 45 percent to 161, according to the report.

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