Anti-Semitic incidents in Colorado are on the rise, with a new report saying there is a 53% increase in 2021 compared to the previous year.
Anti-Defamation League Audit of Antisemitic Incidents 2021released on Tuesday found 92 reports of anti-Semitic incidents in the state last year.
“This reflects a very disturbing trend in anti-Semitic incidents over the past seven or eight years,” said Scott Levine, director of the Mountain States of the ADL region. “It reflects what’s going on in the country.”
Since 1979, the ADL has published an annual audit tracking anti-Semitic harassment, vandalism, and attacks.
In 2021, the ADL found 2,717 antisemitic incidents reported in the United States, a 34% increase from the 2,026 incidents reported in the table in 2020.
Of the 2,717 incidents reported in the country in 2021, 1,776 were cases of harassment, up 43% from 2020; 853 incidents were vandalism, up 14%; and 88 cases of anti-Semitic attacks, up 167% from the previous year. None of the attacks in 2021 resulted in a fatality, according to the audit. The number of incidents in the country – 2727 – is a new record.
In 2021, Colorado ranked eighth among states in the number of reported anti-Semitic incidents, according to the audit. Last year’s number is the highest recorded in the state in more than a decade, according to the ADL. In 2020, 60 incidents were reported in Colorado.
Incidents in Colorado in 2021, according to the audit, included:
- A Jewish family was harassed at a cemetery memorial service for a family member by a man who drove by and shouted “Heil Hitler!”
- The synagogue’s virtual service, streamed live on Facebook and YouTube via Zoom, was met with anti-Semitic and threatening messages in the live chat section of YouTube.
- A Jew received a harassing voicemail in his office from a caller who blamed the Jews for the pandemic-related closure.
“We have to admit that this is a whole social problem,” Levin said. “It’s not something that only the Jewish people should know about, it’s a leader for other minority groups.”
Last August, a student from Yeshiva Toras Chaim, a Torah school on West Colfax Avenue, was shot and killed in Denver. Several suspects were arrested in this case, including several crimes allegedly committed by the same suspects in the metro area. Police said at the time that the crimes, including the murder of Shmuel Silverberg, were random and not motivated by prejudice.
Earlier this year, in January, anti-Semitic flyers placed in plastic bags of rice were distributed over the weekend and left on homes in parts of Denver, Arwada and Castle Rock. The hateful messages included: “Every aspect of the COVID agenda is Jewish.”
Levin said he believes this increase could be due to a number of factors, including the country’s divided political climate, the emergence of hate groups, a decrease in politeness, and an increase in online hate.
“I think it’s a mix of a lot of things that are happening right now,” he said.
The ADL encourages people to speak up and report all forms of hate, including antisemitism.
“While we will redouble our efforts to combat anti-Semitism and hate, we cannot do it alone,” Levin said. “We need all people of good will to recognize anti-Semitism as a real threat, not only to Jews, but to our entire civil society.”