New data released by the Anti-Defamation League shows anti-Semitic incidents in New Jersey were down 14% last year compared to 2019.

Alexander Rosemberg, the deputy regional director for the New York and New Jersey region of the Anti-Defamation League, said it’s a positive sign but the total number of incidents in the Garden State is still troubling.

“Despite any assumptions that we might have made about things getting better this year, New Jersey still saw 295 incidents of anti-Semitism in 2020, this is the third highest number on record," he said.

He also noted New Jersey had the second highest total recorded of any state in the nation last year, surpassed only by New York with 336.

New Jersey counted 188 incidents of harassment, 105 vandalism incidents and two assaults.

He said swastikas were used during 27 of the harassment incidents and in 83 vandalism incidents.

The report finds while the total number of anti-Semitic vandalism incidents was down last year, incidents of harassment increased 17%, and incidents targeting Jewish institutions increased 39%.

“Jewish institutions are being targeted at a higher rate than in previous years,” he said. “At least nine people in the Jewish community were targeted with allegations of the spread of COVID.”

The areas with the highest number of documented anti-Semitic incidents were in Ocean, Mercer, Bergen, Middlesex and Monmouth counties.

The report indicates the ADL recorded 2,024 anti-Semitic incidents in the United States. While anti-Semitic incidents declined by 4% after hitting an all-time high in 2019, last year was the third-highest year for incidents against American Jews since ADL started tracking this data in 1979.

He said as lockdowns related to the pandemic began in March 2020, incidents in schools and on college campuses decreased as learning moved online.

However the report finds “zoom bombing”—the intentional disruption of live videoconferences—rose significantly in 2020. ADL recorded 196 incidents of anti-Semitic videoconferencing attacks last year, of which 114 targeted Jewish institutions such as schools and synagogues.

A total of 18 zoom bombing attacks took place in the Garden State.

Rosemberg said keeping these kinds of statistics is  important because “data drives policy and if we don’t know where things are happening and what things are happening, we can’t advocate for solutions.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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