Jewish organization's annual audit finds Wisconsin antisemitic incidents have risen by 494% since 2015

NOW: Jewish organization’s annual audit finds Wisconsin antisemitic incidents have risen by 494% since 2015

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Antisemitic acts in Wisconsin have risen by nearly 500% over the last seven years, according to an annual report by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation (MJF). 

The report, which was released March 12, showed that hate group activity increased by 83% between 2021 and 2022.

"Over the course of 2022, we saw 11 incidents of hate group activity, most commonly the leafleting of residential neighborhoods and schools. The flyers promoted antisemitic conspiracy theories including the idea that Jews have undue power through their 'control' of major institutions such as media networks, the economy, and the government. They also blame the Jewish community for a variety of social grievances. The leaflets directed people to the hate group’s website, and they were distributed in a number of different areas throughout Wisconsin," the report said.

Other increased incident rates included conspiracy theories, by 40%, vandalism, by 111%, and hateful events on college campuses, by 225%.

There was also a 22% increase for antisemitic incidents toward younger children -- the first time that kids have been on the audit since it started in 2011.

“We never included any incidents in K-6, and this is the first year that we actually had to report on that," said Miryam Rosenzweig, the president and CEO of the MJF. "Unfortunately, since 2015, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of incidents and the severity of incidents."

Overall, the audit saw 101 reported and corroborated incidents in the state since last year -- a 6.3% increase.

“It has triggered many in our community to feel really insecure," Rosenzweig said. 

While there has been a decrease in harassment, threats, assault, and social media activity and expression, the report noted that those numbers are still elevated compared to the past.

In Wisconsin, Jewish people represent less than 1% of the population, according to the Jewish Virtual Library.

Rosenzweig said the one key to increasing awareness about the hateful rhetoric is to educate the community.

“The first step to combatting it is to say, 'I could be in community with people who are different than me,'" Rosenzweig said. “Antisemitism is a very accessible hate. It is 2,000 years old. It crosses geography and religions, and so we often use it to shine a light and say, 'hey, if this is going on, we need to look out into what is happening in our greater society.'”

Rosenzweig added that communities should highlight our similarities rather than our differences, especially at a time when many minorities are facing hate and backlash across the country.

“I’m a grandchild of survivors of the Holocaust and my grandparents came to North America with this vision of escaping persecution," Rosenzweig said. "I never imagined we’d be talking about the safety and security of Jewish people in my lifetime.”

If you are experiencing or witnessing an antisemitic violent crime, please call 911.

If you are experiencing or witnessing an antisemitic hate crime and want to report it to the MJF, click here

Share this article: