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Nevada, Colorado see spike in antisemitic incidents, reflecting national trend

A close-up of a person holding a sign that says, “There’s no place for hatred and antisemitism. Let love lead!”
Ted Eytan
Flickr Creative Commons
A sign at an event called “No Fear: A Rally In Solidarity with the Jewish People” at the U.S. Capitol in July 2021.

News brief

Editor’s note: As a warning, this story contains discussion of a disturbing incident of antisemitic harassment.

A new report shows the number of antisemitic incidents in the United States surged in 2021, and that includes a sharp rise in some Mountain West states.

The Anti-Defamation League’s annual audit of antisemitic incidents counted more than 2,700 acts of harassment, vandalism and assaults targeting Jewish Americans. That’s the highest number on record.

In Nevada, ADL recorded 36 incidents – a 64% jump from the previous year. Most were cases of harassment, and many took place in schools, says Jolie Brislin of ADL Nevada.

“We saw students being attacked in Washoe County schools,” Brislin said. “We had students put ‘Heil Hitler’ on their arms and go up to other students, and really try to intimidate them.”

Brislin says the increase in antisemitic cases is due to several factors, including the divided political climate and the rise of online hate. And she doesn’t expect these numbers to drop this year.

“We find ourselves in a polarized environment,” she said. “When we find that there's a political divide, when we find that the height of the analogies of Jews and COVID, unfortunately, incidents will only increase from that.”

Colorado saw 92 incidents, a 53% increase and the eighth-most of any state. Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming all ranked among states with the fewest number of incidents.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The photo included in this story is licensed under Flickr Creative Commons.

Kaleb is an award-winning journalist and KUNR’s Mountain West News Bureau reporter. His reporting covers issues related to the environment, wildlife and water in Nevada and the region.
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