Report says antisemitic incidents at all-time high in Washington

TACOMA, Wash. — A new report says antisemitic incidents are at an all-time high in Washington.

The Anti-Defamation League released its annual audit on Thursday.

It found a 44% increase in hateful incidents targeting the Jewish community.

The ADL said someone posted a message calling for the killing of Jews during an online Holocaust remembrance service at a Tacoma synagogue.

The organization said hate incidents are up but there could be a way to help.

One of the first local antisemitic incidents of 2022 was graffiti scrawled near the office of Jewish Family Service of Seattle.

“It was like a billboard,” said the organization’s CEO, Rabbi Will Berkovitz.

The graffiti appeared after he wrote an op-ed in the Seattle Times about a rise in hate against the Jewish community.

“They really seemed to be attacking Jews for being Jews,” said Berkovitz.

The ADL said Washington set a new record in 2022 for antisemitic incidents, with 65 incidents compared to four incidents in 2015.

“We have never seen numbers like this before,” said ADL Regional Director Miri Cypers.

Cypers said there’s a similar trend around the country.

“We’re really seeing hate becoming more normalized and the data reflects that,” said Cypers.

She said there are more incidents in schools, such as a hateful message left by a Skyline High School student in response to a post about a meeting of the Jewish Student Union.

“It was pretty hurtful and pretty unexpected,” said student Samantha Tarlowe.

The ADL hopes Washington follows Oregon’s lead. The state now has a bias response hotline for people to report hate incidents which can be passed on to law enforcement.

“Oregon is a model for the nation. We can’t just look at this data and wallow in it and be fearful, we have to do something with it, we have to make a change,” said Cypers.

A bill to launch a $4 million-dollar hotline in Washington did not make it through the Legislature this year, but advocates plan to try again.