The number of reported antisemitic incidents in Kentucky has grown exponentially in the last year, according to a new study.
The report by the Kentucky Jewish Council released this week found that 32 incidents occurred in the state in 2022.
“And they had more reported incidents in 2022 than 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018 combined,” Kentucky Jewish Council Chair Rabbi Shlomo Livtin told WTVQ.
The report examined a worrying increase in antisemitic acts that the state’s small Jewish community has been dealing with in the last year. At 12,500 members, the community makes up less than 0.3 percent of Kentucky’s population.
Incidents listed in the report included the attempted assassination of Jewish Louisville mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg, antisemitic tweets from a Kentucky Congressman, threats made against synagogues in Lexington. antisemitic speeches about Jewish women delivered by a state politician, and violent threats against Jewish students and community leaders.
While Rabbi Litvin said that the antisemitism is harmful to the community, he attempted to put the report in overall context of global trends.
“I am an extremely proud Kentuckian and although these numbers are horrifying, Kentucky is not the issue. This is a global issue, it’s a societal issue that we all need to face,” he said. “It’s incredibly painful to see antisemitism in the paper I grew up with, it’s incredibly painful to see it in Louisville, Lexington, Kentucky cities, in the place that I love.”
He praised Kentucky for adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism in 2021 but urged the state to go further, including antisemitism education in schools.
“Codifying that adoption would be a positive step. There is a bill this year of the BDS movement, one of the most antisemitic movements across the country. Making sure that Kentucky in no way endorses that movement. And, engaging with the Jewish community and ensuring those voices are heard would be a positive step for Kentucky to take,” he added.