San Diego

Hate Speech Fueling Anti-Semitic Attacks: Anti-Defamation League

The mass shooting in Pittsburgh on Saturday comes amid a rising number of anti-Semitic attacks across the country in recent years.

The Anti-Defamation League reported nearly 2,000 incidents last year, a 57 percent increase. The group says hateful speech has something to do with it.

"That actually works, when a good message is sent people do pick that up,” said Amanda Susskind, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League-Los Angeles. “And conversely, when a bad message is sent, people pick that up too."

The League said there seems to be both a trend of people feeling OK about bullying or harassing Jewish students on college campuses.

White supremacist groups are also actively recruiting members from that age group and their demographic.

Experts say it is up to the nation's leaders to set the right example.

Gail Heyman, UC San Diego psychology professor, said seeing these anti-Semitic and racist views can encourage people to act violently.

“Hearing the speech definitely makes it more normal to talk about,” she said. “I see that all over the place that people who normally would've felt like, ‘Oh, I’d better not say that because people are going to think I'm a bad person.’ Now they feel emboldened to say things like that.

The Anti-Defamation League said the shooting Saturday was likely “the deadliest attack on the Jewish Community in U.S. history.”

Resources for parents and teachers who need help talking to kids about hate crimes can be found here.

Contact Us