California (illustrative)
California (illustrative)iStock

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) warned in a report released on Tuesday that the state of California has experienced a worrying increase in antisemitic and extremist activity in recent years.

The study from the ADL Center on Extremism, “Hate in the Golden State,” examined the period between 2021 and 2022. It found that acts of hate in California were largely driven by an increasing network of white supremacists.

The report found that over the last two years, the state has experienced a large increase in extremist activity due to multiple factors, including “increased collaboration between small white supremacist and antisemitic networks, as well as continued activity by extremist groups such as the Proud Boys and Rise Above Movement.”

The study examined the “range of extremist groups and movements operating in California and highlight[ed] the key extremist and antisemitic trends and incidents in the state throughout 2021 and 2022” while highlighting “especially noteworthy events and incidents from 2023.”

ADL noted that California has the highest number of extremist-related murders and plots in the US, which has led to multiple cases of political violence.

California has also experienced a significant increase in antisemitic acts during the last few years, the report found. It is now the state with the second-highest number of antisemitic incidents overall.

The report found that antisemitic incidents in the state rose dramatically in the last few years, increasing 41 percent in 2022 from 2021 level (from 367 to 518).

An explosion of white supremacist propaganda across California also took place, with a 91 percent increase in 2022 (296 instances) compared to 2021 (155 instances).

According to FBI hate crime data, hate crimes soared 33 percent in 2021 (1,765 cases) compared to 2020 (1,330 cases).

ADL pointed out that its 2022 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents found the highest number of antisemitic incidents (3,697) since it began recording statistics in 1979. California experienced 518 incidents in 2022, second only to New York. It also trailed only New York in the number of antisemitic assaults (13) reported in the state.

“While outside the time frame of this report, the deeply concerning increase in antisemitic incidents in California was punctuated by the shootings of two Jewish men in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles in February 2023, highlighting the importance of combating antisemitic conspiracies and tropes which were allegedly a factor motivating the shooter to violence,” the report concluded.