American Jewish Committee, the leading global Jewish advocacy organization, warned today that the continuing rise in hate crimes incidents targeting Jews in the United States is a threat to society that demands urgent national attention.

While Jews account for less than 2% of the American population, the new FBI Hate Crimes Statistics report found that more than 60% of religious-based hate crimes in 2019 targeted Jews, an increase of 14% over 2018.

The annual FBI report is only a partial rendering of the scope of hate crimes, since it depends on voluntary submissions of data from local law enforcement agencies. In the new report, 71 cities with a population of 100,000 residents or more incredulously reported zero hate crimes or did not submit any data for the year 2019.

“American Jews are worried about antisemitism in this country and the release of the FBI’s Hate Crimes report will provide them with little comfort.” said Daniel Elbaum, AJC Chief Advocacy Officer. “Our nation’s failure to internalize this fact, as evidenced by AJC’s groundbreaking surveys on antisemitism in America, harms not only the Jewish community, but it threatens the essence of our democracy and pluralistic society.”

The FBI report comes only three weeks after AJC issued its groundbreaking report on The State of Antisemitism in America.  A stunning 76% of American Jews said they do not even report the antisemitism they experience, according to the AJC report.

AJC found that nearly nine in ten American Jews (88%) believe antisemitism in the U.S. today is a very serious (37%) or somewhat of a (51%) problem, and more than four out of every five Jews (82%) say antisemitism has increased over the past five years.

The FBI report shows a total of 7,314 hate crime incidents in 2019, up by nearly 3% from the 7,120 incidents reported in 2018. Total religious-based incidents increased by 7%, from 1,419 in 2018 to 1,521 in 2019. Incidents targeting Jews were up 14 percent, 953 in 2019, compared to 835 in 2018. Moreover, in 2019, Jews were the victims in six of the 12 religious-bias murders reported in 2019.

Among the actions AJC has been urging is adoption by Congress of the NO HATE ACT, which among other provisions will mandate hate crimes reporting to the FBI. “More accurate reporting will enable law enforcement agencies to develop effective strategies to combat antisemitic hate incidents and crimes,” said Elbaum. “Congressional action, before the current session ends, is imperative.”

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