Watch CBS News

Antisemitism exploding in Massachusetts says annual audit

CBS News Live
CBS News Boston Live

BOSTON - From celebrities giving cover to the haters to campus protests with anti-Jewish overtones, antisemitism is on the march across the country and right here at home.

"My life is lived as is everybody else in the Jewish community - with my heart in my throat right now," said Rabbi Ron Fish, New England Interim Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League.

No wonder.

Antisemitism soaring in Massachusetts  

According to ADL's annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, Massachusetts had the fifth most incidents in the country last year, up a shocking 189 percent over 2022. Reported cases of harassment of local Jews with slurs and stereotypes were up 344 percent. Physical assaults doubled. And vandalism with evidence of antisemitic intent soared by 70 percent.

It's gotten worse since the war in Gaza broke out. But that doesn't account for what was happening before Hamas attacked Israel.

"There was a massive spike in antisemitic acts in America prior to Israel's response to the atrocities of October 7," said Fish. "Who are those people? What are they inspired by and what are they trying to say? The message to me,  to my family, to my community is you are not safe, and that can't be allowed to stand."

But on Beacon Hill, modest funding to help protect synagogues and other Jewish institutions was cut last year.

How to fight antisemitism  

"I hope that we can look to see what the governor thinks she can do," said State Sen. Cindy Creem (D-Newton), whose been an advocate for more resources to protect Jewish and non-Jewish institutions that find themselves under siege. "Is it time for a task force to look at it? This is an enormous rise. In my community, they're throwing rocks in windows."

"Everybody needs to hear themselves being called to the front lines. We all have to stand up," added Rabbi Fish. 

So what can people do to help curb this hateful tide?

Rabbi Fish said a couple of things have helped spur what he calls a "tsunami" of antisemitism: a permission structure given to expression of hate by politicians and public figures and the rise of social media and its ability to spread and promote hateful content.

You can put a sign on your lawn saying you denounce it, as many people do, but unless that message is made repeatedly clear to the public figures who spread it by witholding your vote or your dollars from them and to the kids in your life who are absorbing all that social media, not much will change.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.