This is probably not what a lot of people would expect. This group isn’t covered by the media. It wasn’t talked about on the presidential trail. This doesn’t create the same hysteria as calling officers racist does, so don’t expect to hear about it any time soon.
By Uri Wilensky
Which religious group is the victim of the most hate crimes in the United States?
According to the hate crime statistics kept by the FBI, Jews are the primary victims of religious hate crimes. More than 50% of all hate crimes (57% in 2014) are committed against them. For a point of comparison, anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2014 were 16%.
If you include other groupings by ethnicity, race, or sexuality, Jewish people are still at the top. They are more than three times more likely to be the victim of a hate crime than any other group. To be sure, the FBI definition of hate crimes might not correspond fully with the prevalence of hatred in our society, but they are still seen as an indicator of broad patterns.
These statistics may sound surprising. At a time that a Jewish presidential candidate won a primary election and so many Jews have prominence in many domains, how could Jewish people be the top victims of hate crimes? Yet, just as the election of Barack Obama didn’t stop racist hate crimes against African Americans, the prominence of many Jews in the United States does not protect them more generally from hate and violence.
There is a lot of coverage of hate against other groups, but one reads very little about proliferating anti-Jewish hate.
In late January, acts of vandalism were discovered in a historic Jewish cemetery in Connecticut. Also in January, graffiti with Swastikas, the phrase “Hitler was a hero” and more were scrawled on the front door of a Brooklyn building belonging to Hassidic Jews. A Tampa synagogue was recently targeted by vandals during the Gasparilla celebrations. The hate crimes go beyond vandalism into threats and violence, like when a man killed three people at two different Jewish centers near Kansas City in 2014.
In Europe, the situation for Jews is much worse. In the UK, new figures show that the annual total anti-Semitic hate crimes in London in 2015 was the highest on record. Today, Jews are leaving France in record numbers. There have been many high-profile attacks including those at the kosher market in Paris and the synagogue in Copenhagen last year.
Citing countless examples of hate crimes, in 2014, the president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews told the Guardian, “These are the worst times since the Nazi era.”
It is alarming that 70 years after the defeat of the Nazis, we are seeing a level of violence against Jews that has eerie similarities to the 1920s/30s in Germany and Poland, a history I know about all too well.