Antisemitism on the rise in Florida and across the nation

198 incidents were reported in Florida in 2021
Posted at 12:01 AM, Apr 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-27 08:06:46-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Antisemitic incidents are at an all-time high in this country, according to the Anti-Defamation League. In Florida, the numbers are staggering. 

"In Florida, we had a 50% increase in antisemitic incidents in 2021, which was an all-time high at 198 incidents," Lonny Wilk, with the ADL of Florida, said. 

Wilk said in the yearlong review that 2020 didn't fare much better.

"In 2020, the year before, we had set a record then and we had a 40% increase over 2019," he said. 

Wilk said they are seeing a steady rise in the levels of antisemitism.

"In January, flyers with antisemitic language were distributed across five states, including South Florida," he said. 

Earlier this month in Boca Raton, Jewish residents woke up to flyers outside their homes that had the face of Adolf Hitler on them.

"We saw a rise in Florida and across the country of antisemitism emanating from anti-Israel demonstrations, and anti-Israel attitudes, especially during the May conflict last year between Israel and Hamas," he said. 

Rabbi Andrew Rosenkranz said it's exhausting, it is scary and it's eye-opening. 

"It's a reminder every single year that we have to be vigilant in our society, this country, and work on eradicating," he said. "It's never going to happen to get rid of hatred and racism, but we can take measures that it lessens."

Rosenkranz said it can be tough speaking at the synagogue about these incidents. 

"How do you speak to your flock? Positively," he said. "You don't give up. You don't give up. You always have to believe that love and compassion and empathy are going to win out over hatred, bigotry and racism." 

While harassment and vandalism had seen major increases, the only category that didn't see an increase in Florida was assault.