As the war between Israel and Hamas enters its third month, reports of hate crimes and bias incidents targeting Jews, Muslims and Arabs continue to surge across the United States.
New data from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reveal a dramatic spike in reported incidents of both antisemitism and anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bias.
The ADL said it recorded 2,031 antisemitic incidents in the two months after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, including reports of physical assault, vandalism and “anti-Israel rallies that included classically antisemitic, anti-Zionist and/or terror-supportive rhetoric.”
The organization said it received reports of 465 antisemitic incidents during the same two-month period in 2022.
The new data, released Monday, reflects a more than 330% increase in reported incidents of antisemitism from the 2022 timeframe, the ADL said.
“This is historic but can be directly linked back to the Israel-Hamas war as a majority of the incidents referenced the conflict in one form or another,” said Jake Hyman, a spokesperson for the ADL.
CAIR said it has tracked a similarly troubling rise in requests for help and reports of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bias. After recording an “unprecedented” spike in bias incidents during the first month of the war, the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy group said 2,171 requests for help and reports of bias have been made to its national headquarters and chapters across the country since October 7.
Those reports include incidents of hate crimes and hate speech, as well as workplace discrimination and incidents described as “violations of an individual’s right to free speech and expression,” the group said.
In a statement shared with CNN Thursday, Corey Saylor, research and advocacy director at CAIR, said the surge in anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bias has been “staggering.”
“From Burlington to Chicago and elsewhere, innocent Americans are suffering the consequences of this wave of bigotry,” Saylor said. “Until our nation stops the violence overseas and rejects bigotry here at home, we fear that both Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian racism will continue to spin out of control.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland will instruct law enforcement officials across the country to “remain vigilant in the face of risks of terrorism and hate-fueled violence” at this week’s National Violent Crime Reduction Summit in Indianapolis.
Garland, who will address the summit Monday, plans to discuss how the Department of Justice is “closely monitoring” the impact of the Israel-Hamas war, and whether the conflict in the Middle East is inspiring extremists both at home and abroad, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.
He will also note the spike in hate-fueled violence “comes at a time when law enforcement agencies and communities across the country have already been facing significant challenges regarding violent crime.”
The increase in reported hate and bias motivated incidents has fostered a climate of fear for many Jewish, Muslim and Arab people living in America.
Though the war is thousands of miles away, Jews across the country told CNN they are changing the way they celebrate Hanukkah this year. Some have decided to break with yearslong traditions and removed the menorah from their windows. Others have grown more defiant and have chosen to boldly declare their Jewish identity despite the rise in antisemitism.
After three Palestinian college students were shot in Vermont last month, their relatives told CNN they thought the young men would be safer in the United States than in Israeli-occupied Ramallah, where they grew up as childhood friends.
Now, loved ones are left wondering if one 20-year-old will ever be able to walk again and if the shooting will be investigated as a hate crime.
As the Israel-Hamas war continues to escalate, extremism experts caution more needs to be done to confront and combat the surge in bigotry in the US.
“We have seen in the past that when conflict erupts in the Middle East, incidents of bias-motivated hate, whether it be antisemitic incidents or anti-Muslim hate crimes, tend to surge here in the U.S.,” Hyman said. “It is a disturbing reminder that a war half-a-world away has a global impact.”
CNN’s Nicole Chavez, Alisha Ebrahimji, Rikki Klaus and Catherine Shoichet contributed to this report.
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