The Anti-Defamation League last year recorded an average of more than a dozen reports a day of white supremacist propaganda throughout the country, according to a new study by the organization, which also found a substantial increase in antisemitic messaging compared to 2020.
The organization documented 4,851 cases of racist, antisemitic and other hateful messages last year — about 13 incidents a day — making it the second-highest tally of reported incidents in a year, the organization said in a statement it released Thursday.
The New York City-based organization recorded 5,125 such cases nationwide in 2020, the most since it began tracking white supremacist propaganda in 2016. The organization collected its first full year of data in 2017, said Carla Hill, the associate director of the ADL Center on Extremism.
Reports increased dramatically in the last two years compared to 2019, when the ADL documented 2,724 incidents.
There was also a marked increase last year in hate-filled propaganda targeting Jewish communities, the group said.
There were 352 propaganda incidents in 2021 that included overt antisemitic language or targeted Jewish institutions, up from 277 such incidents in 2020, according to the group's count.
The propaganda included incidents targeting Jewish institutions directly, such as “Hitler was right” stickers that were attached to a menorah outside a California synagogue in October, the ADL said.
The organization highlighted a surge in antisemitic fliers in January and February targeting at least 15 states.
“We’ve been feeling the rise of antisemitism. You see it in the news. You see all the reports about it. You see the assaults and the arsons at synagogues,” Hill said. “Antisemitism is part of the landscape in America.”
Early this year, antisemitic flyers were distributed overnight in neighborhoods in and around Denver, San Francisco and Miami. They all appeared to be similar in nature, according to NBC affiliates and regional officials.
Many were placed in plastic bags weighed down with rice or pebbles before they were thrown onto lawns and stoops.
The ADL found that at least 38 known white supremacist groups were behind hate propaganda efforts in 49 states and Washington, D.C., last year. Hateful propaganda appeared in every state except Hawaii, the group said.
According to the ADL, the highest levels of activity last year were reported in Pennsylvania, with 473 incidents, while Virginia had 375 and 272 were reported in Massachusetts.
The ADL also documented 108 white supremacist events last year, more than double the 53 in 2020.