‘Such a high level right now’: Activists speak about the rising number of anti-semitic incidents nationwide

Educating others is the first step forward in working on the problem, Beverly Maurice with the North Carolina Holocaust Council said.
Educating others is the first step forward in working on the problem, Beverly Maurice with the North Carolina Holocaust Council said.
Published: Mar. 19, 2023 at 9:55 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the number of anti-semitism incidents is on the rise nationwide.

Back in February, a situation occurred in Boone where a man was accused of waving an anti-semitic flag with a swastika on it.

Beverly Maurice, with the North Carolina Holocaust Council, said educating others about the holocaust and other instances of anti-semitism is the first step forward in working on the problem.

Maurice spoke about the safety precautions her synagogue takes before a worship ceremony in today’s climate.

“When I invite high schoolers to come for a tour, I show them the bar that we’ve had to put on the front door, and I explain to them how we have to have security every time we have a worship service, we have to have the Statesville Police Department guarding us,” said Maurice.

According to The ADL, North Carolina saw a 131 percent increase in the number of antisemitic incidents in 2021. Meredith Weisel, a regional director with ADL in Washington D.C said there’s a concern that number will rise.

“2021 was our largest number of anti-semitic incidents in 43 years that ADL has been tracking and now we expect in 44 years that 2022 is likely to be even higher. 2021 had an average of 7 incidents per day,” shared Weisel.

When it comes to the reason for the rise of antisemitic incidents, Weisel with ADL says there’s more than one cause. She said during times when there is a lot of anxiety (like the pandemic) extreme ideologies tend to rise and look for “scapegoats.” Weisel also expressed that social media changed the dynamic of the conversation, and lack of education is also to blame.

“It recedes into history and memory. People don’t have a full grasp of it. We’re seeing it’s not being taught enough in schools. In many ways, anti-semitism is the canary in the coal mine. We have seen throughout history it leads to other forms of hate,” said Weisel.

Maurice shared that educating students at home and in school is a good way to help fight the issue.

“I don’t ever see a time when this outreach will not be necessary. The holocaust always needs to be remembered that’s why we say never forget,” said Maurice.

The Anti-defamation league (ADL) says if you see something say something. The incidents they track are ones that are reported. Weisel said it’s likely more incidents happening than what is getting reported.

To take a look at the number of anti-semitic incidents in the country on ADL’s H.E.A.T Map, click here.