Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and National Director of ADL
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and National Director of ADLYoni Kempinski

Appearing on PBS Newshour on Monday, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said that the anti-Semitism now occurring against American Jews is “more drastic and, frankly, more dangerous.”

When asked about the difference between the situation today and the ADL’s past documentation of conflicts between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs sparking an increase in anti-Semitic attacks in the US, Greenblatt said that the current situation is “more drastic and, frankly, more dangerous.”

The ADL found that there was a 63 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents during the two weeks of the recent conflict compared to the previous two weeks. This surge is “far greater” than during prior tense periods of conflict, such as in 2014.

“I would also note is not just the quantitative, but the qualitative. The span of these attacks, they spread like wildfire across the country... acts of harassment and vandalism and violence,” Greenblatt said. “So, number one, the span is much greater than what we have seen, but secondly the tone, the brazenness, the audacity of these assaults in broad daylight. We have seen people basically say, if you are wearing a Jewish star, you must be a Zionist and you should be killed.”

Noting that President Joe Biden’s track record on anti-Semitism over his long career has been “good on these issues,” Greenblatt sounded a hopeful tone on the administration’s response to the surge in attacks against Jews over the last few weeks.

“Just this morning, (President Biden) tweeted out a firm statement we were pleased about. But we do think it's critical for the administration to stand squarely in solidarity with the Jewish community in this moment, when so many of us are feeling frightened,” he said. “I have heard from Jewish people across the country, and they are feeling scared. They have extremists on the right. They have these, if you might say, radical voices from the left. And they are wondering, is it safe for me to go out wearing a kippah? Is it safe for me to walk to synagogue on a Saturday morning?”

Greenblatt urged members of Congress to speak out against anti-Semitism and to no longer equivocate.

“This is in America in 2021. So we think the leaders, not just President Biden, but members of Congress need to speak out and clearly and consistently call it anti-Semitism, without making equivalence or excuses for any other form of prejudice. You can have fierce debates about Middle East policy, but that is not an excuse to assault and victimize Jewish people in America, in Europe, anywhere.”