Tracking anti-Jewish incidents during Gaza
New York | September 18, 2014 – Over the first half of 2014, an average of eight incidents were reported to the NYPD and classified as possible hate crimes. In July and August the number more than doubled, averaging 18 incidents per month. The increase is concurrent with the Israeli “Operation Protective Edge” in Gaza and the firing of over 4,382 rockets at Israel by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza.
According to the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force, the number of anti-Semitic/Jewish incidents rose 39% during the first 8½ months of 2014. Most of the rise in reports occurred during July and August. So far in 2014 Jews were targets of 40% of the reported hate crimes in New York City, compared to 33% in 2013. Reported anti-Semitic/Muslim attacks also rose dramatically over the same period, which coincides with ISIS becoming a major news story during July and August. Anti-Muslim incidents made up 8% of the reported hate crimes in 2014.Deputy Chief Michael Osgood reported the figures at a NYPD High Holiday Briefing yesterday. He attributed the increase to intense media coverage leading to two factors: a person who normally would not offend becomes an offender; an people are more likely to report hate crimes during such periods.
The good news is that the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force analysis of the anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim incidents indicated that:
- The crimes were random, without a discernable pattern;
- The perpetrators did not engage in pre-planning;
- The attacks were simplistic;
- The perpetrators were not members of an organized hate group; and
- The crimes could be categorized as impulsive street thuggery.
We of the JCRC-NY conclude that the spike in anti-Jewish hate crimes is bad news and good news:
- First, the bad news is that the reported anti-Semitic incidents increased dramatically while Gaza was in the news. This pattern was not a new phenomenon; the NYPD recorded similar spikes in anti-Jewish hate crimes during previous Israeli responses to Palestinian violence. We believe that one hate crime is one too many, condemn those who commit them and urge that they be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
- Second, the good news. People are reporting hate crimes to the police. The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is without peer. Their sophisticated and serious response to hate crimes of all descriptions sends a clarion-clear message that hate crimes will not be tolerated in New York City. We strongly urge anyone who is a victim of a hate crime to immediately report it to the police.
- Third, more good news. The number of reported anti-Jewish hate crimes is dropping over the past month. This seems to indicate that the pattern of past spikes holds.
- Finally, modified good news. The NYPD analysis of the reported possible hate crimes occurring during the spike shows them to be mostly disorganized, low-level, impulsive street thuggery; with no indication that the offenders are members of any active, organized hate group. The New York City incidents stand in stark contrast to the disturbing and violent anti-Jewish attacks in Europe.
As the Jewish High Holidays approach, we strongly recommend that Jewish organizations review their security and access control measures. We are mindful that eight of 18 plots to attack the city in the past 22 years targeted Jewish institutions or Jewish people. Whether the concern is terrorism or hate crimes we can rest assured that the NYPD is there to protect New York’s Jewish community and all New Yorkers and are deeply grateful.
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