Buffalo, New York
Buffalo, New York iStock

A new report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) described a “broad and troubling trend” of rising extremism and antisemitism in New York State.

The Center on Extremism and the Community Security Initiative (CSI) study, “Hate in the Empire State: Extremism & Antisemitism in New York,” found a shocking increase in extremism in the state which it said was partially due to “widespread campaigns of disinformation and conspiracy theories.”

The report examined extremist and antisemitic trends and incidents across New York from January 2020 to December 2021. Noting that the state had the greatest number of antisemitic incidents in the U.S. in 2021, it focused on organized extremist movements along with the 51 antisemitic assaults, the highest number ever recorded by ADL New York.

The report connects the unprecedented number of incidents to the increasing presence of “white supremacists, anti-government extremists, militias, Islamist extremists, violent anti-Zionists and others who are either based in New York or have targeted the state for an attack.”

According to the ADL, it also uncovered conspiracy theories that have “animated” extremists to commit anti-Jewish acts across the state.

“Our report, which was in the works well before the attack in Buffalo, sheds light on the myriad factors that have led to a serious and disturbing increase in hate in the Empire State,” ADL New York/New Jersey Regional Director Scott Richman said. “As someone who was on the ground in Buffalo in the days since the attack, it pains me deeply to see how our Black neighbors have suffered from this extremism. Now we have an opportunity to urge our lawmakers and community leaders to take action to stop hateful, violent acts from re-occurring in our state.”

“New York has always been a symbol of diversity and openness, but the Buffalo shooting is a reminder that there is a dark undercurrent of extremism in the Empire State, and we need to shine a light into those dark corners,” said Community Security Initiative Executive Director Mitch Silber. “Unfortunately, almost all of the indicators we use to monitor hate and extremism directed at Jewish New Yorkers are on the rise. This report illuminates that we need to be clear-eyed about the level of hateful activity both on the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan as well as among organized extremist groups in other parts of New York State.”

Drawing on the conclusions of the report, both groups called on New York’s government and state lawmakers to do more to fight antisemitism and extremism, including establishing a formal commission on antisemitism and increasing funds allocated to New York’s Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Grant Program from $25 to $50 million to fund around 1,000 additional projects.