DENVER — Colorado ranked eighth among states in the U.S. for the number of antisemitic incidents in 2021, according to a new audit from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
In the audit, which is titled "Audit of Antisemitic Incidents 2021," ADL’s Mountain States Region found that incidents targeting Jews surged 49% to the highest level reported in more than a decade. The region includes Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. Nationwide, incidents increased by 34% year over year with 2,717 antisemitic reports last year, the audit found. That's the highest number on record since the anti-hate organization began tracking in 1979.
ADL’s Mountain States Region found 100 incidents of anti-Jewish assault, harassment and vandalism in the three states in 2021, a significant increase compared to the 67 reports from 2020. Of those 100 reports, 92 happened in Colorado. In 2020, Colorado reported 60 incidents.
"Antisemitism is not a hatred confined to the pages of history textbooks," ADL Mountain States Regional Director Scott Levin said. "It is a hatred that Jews living in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and beyond are experiencing right here and right now. While we will redouble our efforts to confront antisemitism and hate, we cannot do it alone. We need all people of goodwill to recognize antisemitism for the real threat it is not only to Jews, but to all of our civil society."
In 2021, the ADL received the following reports from Colorado:
- A Jewish family was harassed at a cemetery during the burial service for a family member by a man who drove by and yelled, “Heil Hitler”
- A Jewish resident’s mezuzah on her apartment door was vandalized
- A synagogue's virtual Purim service, livestreamed to Facebook and YouTube via Zoom, was met with antisemitic and threatening messages in the live chat section on YouTube
- A Jewish individual received a harassing voicemail at their place of business from a caller who blamed Jews for the pandemic-related shut downs and called Jews “f***ing losers”
- A synagogue received a threatening phone call from an individual who said, “Watch your back. We are coming for you. All of you. You and everyone in the building. The Zionists and the Jews.”
In addition, one case of assault, 66 cases of harassment and 25 cases of vandalism were reported last year in Colorado.
Every state in the United States, and the District of Columbia, reported an antisemitic incident in 2021. The ADL Center on Extremism illustrated this data, plus extremism incidents, in an interactive map, whichyou can view here and below.
So far in 2022, police have already responded to antisemitic issues in Colorado.
In January, the Denver Police Department's Bias Motivated Crime Unit began investigating fliers containing antisemitic language in the Country Club neighborhood. About a month later, people living in certain Parker neighborhoods woke up to antisemitic fliers in their front yards.