Antisemitic incidents skyrocketing in Western Washington and across U.S.

SEATTLE — Troubling numbers were released Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League concerning incidents of antisemitism around Western Washington and the United States.

According to the ADL, since 2014, antisemitic incidents in the United States have jumped by 873 percent. In 2014 the number of incidents was 912 and in 2023 that number skyrocketed to 8,873. In Washington specifically, 65 incidents were reported in 2022 and in 2023 that number jumped to 190.

“Our most immediate concern is that violent extremists, whether individuals or small groups will draw inspiration from recent events we’re learning about overseas and attempts to carry out attacks in the U.S,” Ryan Bruett, from the FBI Seattle field office, said. Bruett said the agency is particularly concerned about lone actors aiming to disrupt or escalate violence at large, high profile events.

“We’ve seen a marked increase in hoax bomb threats with active shooter threats targeting synagogues and Jewish community centers both in Washington State and nationwide,” he said. “Al Qaeda issued its most specific call to attack the U.S. in recent years, ISIS urged followers to target Jewish communities in the United States and Europe and we’ve seen even more calls to attempt to hurt Americans overseas. Hezbollah has publicly expressed its support for Hamas and threatened to attack U.S. interests in the middle east.” In addition to that, he said there have been more attacks on U.S. military bases overseas carried out by militia groups backed by Iran.

“This is not a time for panic, but it is a time for vigilance,” he said. Bruett said the best thing you can do is make sure to report these incidents and crimes when they happen.

“We don’t expect everyone to know what is free speech and what’s a hate crime or what may be a hate crime, but please report those to law enforcement so we can make those assessments,” Bruett said. He also added that in addition to reporting to local law enforcement, to report the incidents to the FBI via their website or by calling your local field office.