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Antisemitic attacks on rise

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 7:06 AM MDT
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(CNN) - Police in Tucson, Arizona, are investigating after antisemitic graffiti, including a swastika, was painted on a synagogue.

It’s the latest troubling incident of what the Anti-Defamation League has called a surge in antisemitism across the U.S.

According to the league’s new report, antisemitic attacks more than doubled in May 2021 compared to May 2020.

“We feel unsafe,” said Rabbi Ram Bigelman of Chabad on River.

A hole was cut in the fence. a swastika and a slur was daubed on the synagogue door.

Three weeks ago, a rock was smashed through the window of another synagogue in the same city.

“Sadly, it’s a new reality we’re living. We’ve seen this rise across America,” said Rabbi Yehuda Ceitlin of Chabad Tucson.

In the Bronx, there was a spate of attacks on synagogues. Stones also reportedly were thrown at volunteers trained by a group called Community Security Service to protect temples.

“We’ve had at least 50 new synagogues that have reached out in the last month,” said Evan Bernstein. CEO of Community Security Service. “It’s become very real for our volunteers and very real for the community. We’re trying to give them the best training we possibly can to deal with this.”

When war began mid-May in Gaza and Israel, antisemitic incidents in the U.S. spiked, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Jewish diners were attacked in Los Angeles when a Pro-Palestinian motorcade stopped, men got out and “started running toward the tables and asking indiscriminately who’s Jewish,” a witness said.

A Jewish man was badly beaten in New York’s Times Square.

“(I) thought they were urinating on my face but it was actually, you know, pepper spray,” said Joseph Borgen, the antisemitic attack victim.

A third alleged attacker was just arrested Monday.

Since the ceasefire in and around Gaza, antisemitic incidents haven’t stopped here. They’ve just fallen back to a baseline that’s been rising the past few years.

“Really over the past five to seven years, you saw a relatively steady climb in those numbers,” Bernstein said.

Clearly, this issue runs deeper than knee-jerk reaction to violence in the middle east.

A research paper published in April states that in this country: “The epicenter of antisemitic attitudes is young adults on the far right.”

But researchers found antisemitic attitudes spread far wider.

In the polling: 22% of people said American Jews are more loyal to Israel than the U.S., and 12% said Jews in the U.S. have too much power.

Tucson’s mayor confirmed the most recent vandalism is being investigated as a hate crime.

“People that do such things, they’re motivated by a very strong feeling of hate, obviously ignorance as well. My question is: What happens next? And I’m really concerned about that,” said Ceitlin.

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