Report shows increase in antisemitism across the country

The most recent attack on the Jewish community was at Eastmark Great Park in Mesa.
Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 5:03 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 27, 2023 at 5:55 PM MST
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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Last year, police across America investigated the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents ever recorded in the country. According to the Anti-Defamation League, there were 53 reported incidents of antisemitism in Arizona in 2022. That is down from 56 the previous year but still more than double the number from 2019. The most recent attack on the Jewish community was at Eastmark Great Park in Mesa. A swastika and a disturbing message attacking Jewish people were spray painted on the sidewalk.

“These types of hate acts have huge repercussions for how the community feels here,” said Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz. “What we know is that these types of hate messages ultimately lead toward violence. So we have to name them and counter them right away.”

ADL tracked reported incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism, harassment and assault in Arizona. In October, University of Arizona professor Thomas Meixner was killed by a former student who reportedly thought he was Jewish and made anti-Semitic threats. “We can become numb to some of these lies and stereotypes in ways that normalize them,” said Dr. Edna Friedberg.

Dr. Friedberg is a historian with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. She is coming to Scottsdale on Thursday for an event to educate families on extremism in our country and ways to fight it. Dr. Friedberg said learning from history and speaking out against hate is vital. “It is about how we can protect ourselves, how can we become alert, not passively become complicit in letting some of these ideas become mainstream,” she said. “If we don’t stand up for our neighbor, we are all allowing the fabric of our communities to be weakened.”

The event ‘When Extremist Ideas are no Longer Considered “Extreme”’ is Thursday, October 30, at Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center in Scottsdale. It is free and open to the public. To register, click here.