According to a report released on Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League, more than 500 antisemitic acts — including assault, vandalism, and harassment — targeting Jews were committed in California last year, an increase of more than 40% from 2021, underscoring a rise in hate crimes and extremism in the state.
The ADL also noted growing cooperation among extremist and white supremacist groups in a report describing a wide range of hate crimes and violence.
The analysis showed that in 2021 and 2022, extremist group members committed at least six killings there, the most in the country, with three of those murders being associated with white nationalist organizations.
After the Anti-Defamation League and Tel Aviv University’s Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry jointly released a report showing that antisemitic occurrences are at a new high worldwide and that the upward trend is accelerating in the U.S., the information on California was released.
At least 518 antisemitic incidents occurred in California in 2022, second only to New York (580 incidences). It reported the number had increased by 41% since 2021.
Oren Segal, vice president of the Anti-Defamation League Center of Extremism, said at a news conference on Tuesday that hate in all its manifestations is the “common thread” that binds all of California, north and south, east, and west.
Combating the spread of extremism, antisemitism, and hate is not the only solution.
The “Hate in the Golden State” report from the civil rights organization also revealed a rise in regional white nationalist organizations coordinating efforts to disseminate propaganda and fortify their presence in California. It demonstrates how long-standing organizations like the Proud Boys continue to target neighborhood LGBTQ+ events, mainly drag queen story hours.
The Goyim Defense League, Active Clubs, and the White Lives Matter network are just a few of the organizations pushing for the propagation of white supremacist ideology and organizing anti-LGBTQ+ demonstrations in California, according to the report.
The Anti-Defamation League observed 296 distributions of white nationalist material in California last year, up from 155 in 2021, a 91% increase.
Additionally, it describes acts of violence or harassment carried out by QAnon adherents who held to the unfounded conspiracy theory that former President Donald Trump was engaged in a covert war against the “deep state” and a network of satanic pedophiles and cannibals who trafficked children.
It was discovered that at least three violent attacks were carried out in 2021 and 2022 by group followers, including one on Paul Pelosi, the husband of the then-U.S. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, in San Francisco last year.
Democratic state senator Scott Wiener, a homosexual Jewish politician from San Francisco, claimed he has received death threats and hate speech, and he termed the report’s conclusions “absolutely horrifying.”
At the news conference, Wiener stated, “We don’t need to see statistics to know that there has been an explosion of hate and extremism.” “We need to be very clear that we are going to have a zero-tolerance policy for this kind of extremist bigoted behavior in California as a matter of public safety and public health.”
According to the Anti-Defamation League, between 2020 and 2022, at least 400 instances nationwide of local lawmakers being threatened or harassed, 64 of which occurred in California.
Legislators and government representatives in California are working to stop the trend. A statewide non-emergency hate crime hotline was unveiled by the Civil Rights Department last week. The hotline, which acts as an alternative to law enforcement, assists in linking victims and witnesses of hate crimes with various resources, including support for their legal and mental health needs.
The extremism movement is gaining ground, according to Democratic Assemblymember Cory Jackson of Riverside, who wrote a bill that would establish a hate crime intervention unit within the California Department of Public Health.
“This movement is well organized, well funded, and they have a game plan, executing it,” he said. We have the chance to ensure that we don’t treat this lightly.