Number of U.S. Antisemitic Incidents in 2020 Third-Highest on Record, Data Finds

Two swastikas drawn on the car of a Holocaust survivor, in Hallandale Beach, Florida.

April 28, 2021

After hitting an all-time high the previous year, the number of antisemitic incidents in the U.S. dropped by four percent in 2020, yet was still the third-largest on record, a new annual audit showed.

According to data compiled by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), there were 2,024 incidents of antisemitism in the U.S. last year — including 1,242 of harassment (a 10% increase), 751 of vandalism (an 18% decrease), and 31 of physical assault (a 49% decrease).

“While any decline in the data is encouraging, we still experienced a year in which antisemitic acts remained at a disturbingly high level despite lockdowns and other significant changes in our daily lives and interactions with others,” ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan A. Greenblatt stated. “We can’t let our guard down. As communities begin to open up and people spend more time in person with others, we must remain vigilant.”

The ADL report emphasized the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, noting that Jews were frequently scapegoated for spreading the virus.

As learning moved online, it pointed out, incidents of antisemitism at schools dropped dramatically, but these were replaced by the “Zoom-bombing” trend.

The ADL recorded 196 incidents of antisemitic disruptions of videoconferences in 2020, with 114 targeting virtual events hosted by Jewish institutions.

For the first time since 2017, no antisemitism fatalities were reported in the U.S. last year.

A total of 178 U.S. antisemitic incidents in 2020 involved references to Israel or Zionism, compared to 175 the previous year. Most of these were “expressions of anti-Israel animus that incorporated antisemitic imagery or harassment and demonization of Jewish students for their connection — real or assumed — to Israel,” the ADL said.

The full ADL Audit of Antisemitic Incidents 2020 can be viewed here.