By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
There is a “massive surge” in antisemitism in America in the first three months of 2017. The incidents are “surge 86% in US at start of 2017,” he reports shout. New data from the ADL, media informs us, shows how there is this alarming spread of hate.
According to reports of the ADL data, there were 541 incidents of antisemitism in the first three months of 2017. That includes 161 bomb threats and 380 incidents of harassment. Almost all the 161 bomb threats are alleged to have been carried out by the Jewish Israeli teen (several others are alleged to have been carried out by an African-American journalist). Now let’s do the math here. If there was an 86% increase in anti-semitism in the first three months, then that means in 2016 there were 290 incidents of anti-semitism. The change from 290 to 541 is 86% increase.
Now, let’s subtract the 161 bomb threats, allegedly made by the Israeli, from the data. That leaves us with 380. If we remove the data caused by the alleged threats carried out by the Jewish teen, then the actual number of anti-semitic incidents is only a 31% increase. The difference between 290 and 380 is 31%.
The 2017 report also claims that 2016 saw a 34% increase in 2016, with 1,266 anti-semitic incidents. That’s basically the same number as 2010 when there were 1,239 antisemitic incidents. Is antisemitism “surging”, or is it basically the same? How much of the surge was caused by one person with a phone and some tech software in Israel? A piece in the JTA recently explained how we must work to stop the rise in antisemitism.
How do they suggest to stop the anti-semitic surge that was primarily the responsibility of one person in Israel? Shall there be a huge campaign on Israeli TV encouraging people not to make bomb threat hoaxes? Shall there be special classes in Israel encouraging teens not to be anti-semitic?
The revelations about the alleged lone person responsible for half the rise in US antisemitism in 2017 should be a healthy reminder that much of the stories about “antisemitism!” are alarmist. There is basically no rise in antisemitism in America. The antisemitism that does exist is of such marginal type, that it can best be ignored. However some people with an agenda have sought to use the non-existent “surge” in antisemitism for their own purposes.
There is no “surge”. When something is the same as six years ago, it is not a “surge.” It is “historical levels.” When half of the surge in “antisemitism” is caused by a Jewish teen, the data shouldn’t be used for the purposes of discussion. We don’t track racism against black people in America by keeping data on everytime a black rapper uses the n-word, do we? We track racism based on actual racist attacks. But when it comes to antisemitism we throw out the rules, and try to record as much as possible, even recording more than 100 incidents of “antisemitism” allegedly caused by a Jewish teen. That data should be thrown out. That doesn’t mean the indictment should be thrown out. People who call Jewish institutions and make threats, whether Jewish or non-Jewish, should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But when people discuss threats to the community they should discuss the threats realistically.