New data compiled by the Anti-Defamation League has highlighted a major spike in anti-Semitic incidents across the country.
"Quarter over quarter - There's been an almost 90 percent jump in Anti-Semitic recorded incidents from 2016 to 2017," explained Renee LaFair, who works for ADL Austin.
While the numbers themselves are a cause for concern, the individual victims the ADL deals with hammer the issue home.
"It really does affect the way people perceive their world, and the way they act in their world, and it has huge consequences," LaFair explained.
According to the ADL's audit, Texas had 29 reported anti-Semitic incidents in 2015.
In 2016, that number dropped to 23 anti-Semitic incidents.
But through the first three months of 2017, the ADL reported there have been 25 cases of anti-Semitic incidents, already surpassing the total from last year.
Texas has the fifth highest-number of reported anti-Semitic incidents through the first quarter of 2017, trailing only New York (97), California (87), Florida (41), and Massachusetts (38).
"The white supremacists in the country have felt really emboldened, and able to say what they've really been feeling. And there's been no consequences from them as much – so we're seeing a lot more vitriol online, and a lot more cyber hate – and we're seeing not only in the Jewish community, but in other communities as well," said LaFair.
So, how can the trend be reversed?
LaFair pointed to expanded education and better understanding as a deterrent, as well as the need for elected leaders to condemn instances of anti-Semitism.
"When leadership and all parties come out and they speak about how they're not going to tolerate instances of anti Semitism or anti any –ism, then that really helps," LaFair explained.
She noted the largest increase in anti-Semitic incidents is seen online.
Despite the troubling statistics, one part of the report did show some progress. Reports of anti-Semitic inspired assaults dropped across the country from 56 in 2015 to 36 in 2016. Through the first quarter of 2017, that trend is on pace to drop by 33 percent, with six such incidents reported so far.
To look at the ADL's state-by-state breakdown of anti-Semitic incidents from 2015 - 2017, click here.
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