Antisemitism is a deeply pervasive issue affecting the wellbeing of the Jewish community. In the wake of Hamas’ murderous terror attack against Israel on October 7 when 1,200 Israelis were slaughtered, thousands were wounded, and over 240 people, including children, were taken as hostages into Gaza, there has been an unprecedented spike in antisemitism in the U.S. and around the world. This anti-Jewish hate is felt both in person and online and is having major ramifications for the safety and security of American Jews.
American Jewish Committee’s State of Antisemitism in America 2022 survey of American Jews revealed that almost four in ten (38%) American Jews reported they took at least one action to conceal their Jewish identity in the past year out of fear of antisemitism. Over a quarter (26%) said they were the personal target of at least one antisemitic incident in the past year, in person or online. Antisemitism is also an issue that affects more than just Jews: over nine in ten respondents to AJC’s State of Antisemitism in America 2022 survey of U.S. adults believe antisemitism is a problem for everyone, affecting society as a whole.
In May 2023, the White House released its first-ever U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, which includes dozens of AJC's recommendations and closely resembles AJC's Call to Action Against Antisemitism in America. The National Strategy lists hundreds of actions federal agencies and all of society can take to mitigate antisemitism in America. Central to the National Strategy is the importance of reporting bias-based incidents and hate crimes, to allow policymakers, law enforcement, social media companies, and others to develop effective strategies to combat bias-motivated crimes.
The National Strategy calls on the Department of Education (ED) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), alongside other federal agencies, to increase awareness of reporting hate crimes and incidents of bias and harassment and ensure affected communities know how to file such claims with ED and DOJ Civil Rights divisions. They, and all other federal agencies, are obligated to adhere to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. The National Strategy also includes guidance for law enforcement and social media companies to respond to antisemitic incidents.
Filing complaints about antisemitic incidents or crimes, including incidents of antisemitism in the form of anti-Zionism, to any of the above organizations helps inform the practical distribution of resources in response to the issue and provides an opportunity for the victim or witness to seek recourse and contribute to the recording of hate crimes and incidents. It is important to note that filing a complaint might not directly lead to litigation. Legal action might be taken if the incident rises to the level of a hate crime, but incidents that fall below the threshold of a crime might not be pursued by the above parties.
This guide was created to advise potential victims of bias-motivated discrimination or hate on how to file complaints and/or report hate crimes through official channels. Additional educational resources on antisemitism (below) by AJC provide much-needed context for understanding the many different ways that hatred and prejudice toward Jews can manifest.
Department of Education
- File a complaint by fax or written mail to your nearest OCR enforcement office or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. File a complaint online using OCR’s electronic complaint form.
- Regardless of forum, complaints should include:
- The complainant’s name, address and, if possible (although not required), a telephone number where the complainant may be reached during business hours;
- Information about the person(s) or class of persons injured by the alleged discriminatory act(s) (names of the injured person(s) are not required);
- The name and location of the institution that committed the alleged discriminatory act(s); and
- A description of the alleged discriminatory act(s) in sufficient detail to enable OCR to understand what occurred, when it occurred, and the basis for the alleged discrimination (race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age)
- Submit in a timely manner: A complaint must be filed within 180 calendar days of the date of the alleged incident. In some cases, OCR can extend filing time for good cause shown under certain circumstances.
- ED OCR’s Dear Colleague letter reminding schools of their Title VI obligations
- ED OCR Fact Sheet: Protecting Students from Discrimination Based on Shared Ancestry or Ethnic Characteristics
- Questions and Answers on Executive Order 13899 (Combating Antisemitism) and OCR’s Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Department of Justice
The Department of Justice has two forums for reporting anti-Jewish incidents: hate crime incidents and non-hate crime incidents.
Hate crime incidents:
- Bias-motivated hate crimes should first be reported to your local police station.
- Once reported to local law enforcement, hate crimes can be reported online to the FBI here, by phone at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324), or to your local FBI field office.
- The FBI may reach out to you for more information as they investigate the crime.
Non-crime hate incidents:
- Any incident can be reported to DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.
- File a report of a civil rights violation here.
- Once a report is filed, outcomes can include DOJ:
- Following up for more information
- Starting a mediation or investigation
- Directing you to another organization for further help, or
- Informing you that they cannot help
Other Federal Agencies
In addition to the Departments of Education and Justice, other federal agencies provide a forum to file incidents of discrimination, including:
Local Law Enforcement
How to report antisemitism to the police:
- If you experience or witness an antisemitic attack or incident, call 911—even if it's not an emergency.
- The 911 dispatcher will alert an officer on duty, who will come to you to document the bias-motivated incident or crime. A hate incident is bias-motivated but falls below the threshold of a crime, such as an insult or the dissemination of hateful content in public places.
- If reporting a crime, an officer will collect your personal information such as name, date of birth, and contact information.
- Your contact information will be given to a hate crime detective or Jewish officer liaison, who will be in touch with you directly.
If you see or experience antisemitism, consider reaching out to the Secure Community Network (SCN) for assistance. SCN is the official safety and security organization of the Jewish community in North America and runs a Duty Desk that provides timely, credible threat and incident information to both law enforcement and community partners. The SCN Duty Desk is available 24/7/365 via email@example.com or by calling 844-SCN-DESK. If you need further assistance, please also be in touch with your local law enforcement agency or FBI field office.
Social Media Companies
We can all play a role in reducing online hate. Don’t be silent when you see an instance of antisemitism or other forms of hatred on social media. Report it to the platform directly.
- Tap options symbol (dots, arrow, carrot) on the post, profile, or comment.
- Tap Report.
- Select the reason (hateful conduct, hate speech, inappropriate) as listed on the platform.
Platform specific guidance:
X (formerly Twitter)
- Help.twitter.com then click “Safety and security” then “Report abusive behavior”
- The X Rules: Code of Conduct
- Facebook.com/Help then click “Policies and Reporting” then “Reporting Abuse”
- Facebook Community Standards
- Youtube.com, on the video page, click “Settings” or “More” (three dots), and then “Report”
- YouTube Community Guidelines
Antisemitism is more than just a hatred of Jews for religion, ethnicity, or national origin—it is a certain perception of Jews rooted in conspiracy theories about Jewish control, manipulation, and power. It blames Jews as a collective for society's problems and paints them as scapegoats for why things go wrong; today this most clearly manifests against the Jewish state of Israel.
AJC has developed educational tools to understand both the nefarious and complex nature of antisemitism, including anti-Zionism, as well as how both American Jews and U.S. adults perceive and understand antisemitism in America today.
- Translate Hate, AJC’s glossary of antisemitic tropes, themes, and memes
- AJC’s State of Antisemitism in America 2022 report
- AJC’s Call to Action Against Antisemitism, a society-wide nonpartisan guide for America
- Anti-Zionism as a form of Antisemitism
- To learn more about AJC’s resources on Israel, click here.
- To learn more about the Hamas-Israel War, please click here.