Wisconsin sees 36% increase in reported antisemitic incidents in 2020

MILWAUKEE — Antisemitic incidents reported in Wisconsin increased 36% from 2019 to 2020, according to a report released today by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Milwaukee Jewish Federation.

“2020 was sadly, but not surprisingly, another high-water mark year for antisemitic incidents in Wisconsin, surpassing recorded incidents from 2019,” said Brian Schupper, Chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC). “We are seeing a significant increase in overt antisemitic expression laden with conspiracy theories and hate group rhetoric. The audit helps us discuss these worrisome trends with our community partners and understand where we need to focus our efforts.”

Troubling trends in the audit include:

  • Expression (82% increase)
  • Hate group activity (20% increase)
  • Conspiracy theories (90% increase)
  • Pejorative references to Israel and Zionism in an antisemitic context (61% increase)
  • College and University activity (75% increase)
  • Social media activity (100% increase)
  • Middle School activity (71% decrease)

Each reported incident is corroborated and reviewed before any action is taken. The audit is reviewed by the JCRC’s Antisemitism & Constitutional Law Task Force and the JCRC Board before the final approval process of the JCRC Community Council, which includes 68 community members.

“In the face of antisemitism rising each year, we must call it out when we see it,” said Jenny Tasse, Director, JCRC. “This is a vital first step in combating antisemitism, and by working in coalitions and forming alliances with neighbors who also face bigotry, we multiply our efforts. Most individuals who espouse hateful ideologies hold those views for multiple racial, ethnic, and religious minorities.”

The JCRC works year-round to respond to and prevent incidents through ongoing interfaith and intercultural relations, ongoing efforts fighting bigotry against all people, and its Hours Against Hate initiative. The organization strongly encourages individuals and institutions to report all incidents and ensures full confidentiality.

The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation

The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation envisions a just community that reflects American and Jewish values. The mission is to speak as the representative of the Jewish community on issues of public affairs and public policy by convening and mobilizing the Jewish community through education, advocacy, social justice, and support for Israel.