You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:17-18 (The Israel Bible™)
For the third year in a row, the FBI has released statistics that show a significant increase in both hate crimes in general and anti-semitic attacks in particular.
According to recently-released FBI data, hate crimes in the United States jumped 17%, with a massive 37% spike in anti-semitic attacks over the same 12-month period. The release of the data comes just a few weeks after a white supremacist gunman burst into the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and murdered 11 Jews while shouting, “All Jews must die!”
According to the FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics report, a total of 7,175 hate crimes were reported by law enforcement agencies in 2017, up from 6,121 incidents in 2016. The agency did not offer a reason for the increase.
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said in a statement that hate crimes were “despicable violations” of American values.
“I am particularly troubled by the increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes,” Whitaker said.
The report showed a 37% jump in anti-Semitic incidents, from 684 in 2016 to 938 in 2017. The Justice Department said it was “particularly troubled” by the spike. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said in a statement that hate crimes were “despicable violations” of American values.
Different theories have arisen as to the source of the increase in hate crimes, with many commentators laying the blame at the feet of President Donald Trump, for what they term his divisive rhetoric.
The Anti-Defamation League’s national director Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement that all leaders should “forcefully condemn anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hate whenever it occurs.” Greenblatt’s statement also follows an audit of anti-semitism attacks published by his organization. Their records found an increase of 57% from the previous year.