ADL: Anti-Semitic Incidents in Ohio Up 72% Last Year

A sign from a pandemic protest in Columbus in 2020 - PAUL BECKER/FLICKRCC
Paul Becker/FlickrCC
A sign from a pandemic protest in Columbus in 2020

The slurs hurled at Dr. Amy Acton during the pandemic and the alleged neo-Nazi who carried a hateful sign at a protest in Columbus might have been the most visible examples of anti-Semitism in Ohio last year, but they were hardly anomalies.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, Ohio saw more anti-Semitic incidents in 2020 (43) than in the previous 40 years. And that number, according to experts, is almost certainly an undercount. Still, it represents a 72% increase over 2019.

James Pasch of the Cleveland ADL office told the Columbus Dispatch: "There is certainly no doubt that the rise in coronavirus led to us finding almost two viruses at the same time. The physical virus and then the virus of hate that coincided with that. Minorities being blamed or scapegoated for the spread of the virus, it is something that has happened during world history before (other) major viruses and pandemics. It's not surprising that it happened here again."

Incidents included in the ADL report cover harassment, vandalism and physical violence.

Geographically, 63% occurred in Northeast Ohio.

Advocates emphasized education in rectifying the hate, and not just in schools.

"It's not just education in the classroom," Pasch told the Dispatch. "It's also education amongst people we know best."

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