Report suggests spike in anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S.

The Anti-Defamation League has issued a report showing an 86% increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period last year. The report showed a total of 541 anti-Semitic incidents reported, including assaults, vandalism, and harassment.

"The purpose for tracking this is to get information that hopefully will inform policy,"  Seth Brysk, the director of the Anti-Defamation League Pacific Region.

Brysk says that upward trend started in 2016 with 1,266 incidents reported nationwide. That's a 34% increase over 2015.

In Marin County, the Osher Jewish Community Center has been the target of bomb threats and some people say they've heard of other recent incidents.

"It's kind of shocking to think about it happening, but it's happening," said Merav Alterman, an educator who lives in San Rafael.

Alterman says she's heard from fellow teachers and parents about children at other Bay Area schools being targeted.

"Swastikas on the lockers and kids going in the hallway and somebody going heil Hitler and things like that," Alterman said, "All those kinds of things, that's how it starts is words."

Brysk says some incidents appeared linked to the election.

"Either the President's name or references to rhetoric on the campaign, other things like that where it clearly indicated to us that the campaign was having an impact," Brysk said.

The ADL report cites one example of a person in Florida who was accosted by someone saying '"Trump is going to finish what Hitler started."

President Trump, whose son-in-law Jared Kushner is Jewish, has tried to distance himself recently from the hate speech that has in some cases been linked to his name and campaign. The President delivered a speech for Holocaust Remembrance Day.

"Those who deny the Holocaust are an accomplice to this horrible evil," President Trump said, "We will stamp out prejudice, we will condemn hatred."

Last year, California had the most incidents, 211, followed by other states such as New York and Florida that also have large Jewish populations. Something that troubles many in the Bay Area.

"It's incumbent on all of us. If we see anybody doing anything that we believe is inappropriate, to speak out either to those that we see on the school ground to those that are in the job force," said Phil Kranenburg from San Rafael.

Brysk says along with education, they hope for some legislation. He says there are at least two proposed bills before the state legislature that seeks to improve the reporting and tracking of hate crimes.

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