New report shows antisemitic incidents on the rise in Arizona

In Arizona, the rise in antisemitic incidents in 2021 is over twice as much as it was in 2020.
Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 10:07 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - According to a recent Anti-Defamation League report, there were more than twice as many antisemitic incidents in Arizona in 2021 compared to 2020. Forty-one of those incidents were some form of harassment, and 15 were acts of vandalism.

There’s a mixed reaction to these numbers among Jewish community leaders here in Arizona. On the one hand, there’s worry that things could get worse. But there’s also hope that a more accepting generation of Arizonans might decrease antisemitic incidents.

“99.9 percent of good people that are behaving in the right manner, saying the right things, will influence and impact those around them,” Chabad of the East Valley Rabbi Mendy Deitsch said.

In case you couldn’t tell, Deitsch is a glass-half-full kind of guy. “Seeing the positive attitudes and the kindness that people portray,” Deitsch said. “I think that is kind of the way that I like to look at it.”

But from a statistical perspective, antisemitic incidents are up 145 percent in Arizona, from 23 in 2020 to 56 in 2021.

For Tammy Gillies, that’s a concern. “We’ve had banner drops,” the Anti-Defamation League Arizona regional director said. “We’ve had flyering; we’ve had vandalism already this year.”

Gillies says state politicians like Congressman Paul Gosar and Senator Wendy Rogers contribute to a culture where antisemitism is accepted. “They use their bully pulpit to promote antisemitic tropes, and that trickles down to the public,” she said. “And when that language becomes normalized, we see people take action.”

Gillies says community leaders need to vocally criticize any antisemitic acts for acts of Jewish hate to diminish.

Earlier this year, the Senate voted to censure Senator Rogers for her antisemitic remarks. “The actions of this senator do not reflect the voice or the stance of the caucus,” Senate President Karen Fann said at the time.

As for Rabbi Deitsch, he says stopping antisemitism starts with educating Arizonans who might not realize the hate their actions can create. “Living a certain way, using certain words, and speaking a certain way,” he said. “And obviously internalizing it also. But when we behave in this manner, those around us will be embarrassed to behave in this manner. They’ll also behave in the right way.”

Arizona’s Family reached out to Congressman Gosar’s office for a response to the Anti-Defamation League, considering him as someone who promotes antisemitic rhetoric. But, unfortunately, we did not get a response.