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Jewish Council reports sharp increase in anti-Semitic activity

Posted at 7:20 PM, Feb 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-23 22:31:23-05

Every year a local group takes the temperature of the community tracking anti-Semitic incidents. 

According to the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), what's most troubling about the latest numbers is seeing a sharp rise in incidents categorized as harassment, threats, and assault. 
The latest audit by the JCRC of Milwaukee confirms anti-semitic incidents are up 30 percent.

"Yes, there's a 30 percent rise in incidents generally," Elana Kahn said. "But it's the nature of the incidents that has changed."

According to Kahn, director of the JCRC, in 2015 there were zero incidents in the category of harassment, threats, and assault. Last year there were six and this past year there were 15.

"That we've found alarming," Kahn said. "It says something about a sort of unmasking of hatred."

Kahn also confirmed the continuation of two trends with an increasing number of incidents in two particular areas. Almost one-third of all incidents take place in schools or on college campuses, and more than 25 percent of all incidents involved the use of social media.

But Kahn hopes this audit brings about an awareness that leads to a more tolerant Milwaukee.

"This is a reflection of what it's like to be an 'other' whatever that means because we know where there is anti-Semioticism there's also racism," Kahn said.

The JCRC plans to focus its June 21 annual meeting on the issue of anti-Semitic activity on social media and they encourage everyone to report all incident.