NATICK, MASS. (WHDH) - New England saw a 205 percent increase in antisemitic incidents from 2022 to 2023, with a total of 440 incidents recorded in Massachusetts last year, according to a report from the Anti-Defamation League.

The ADL recorded 623 antisemitic incidents throughout New England — Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont — and 8,873 incidents across the country in 2023, the highest total since the ADL began tracking such incidents in 1979, the report said. The sharp increase in incidents took place mostly in the period following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

“Criticizing Israeli policy, debating Israeli conduct of the war, asking hard questions, that’s completely normal. That’s what happens,” said Rabbi Ron Fish, the interim director of ADL New England. “What’s absolutely unacceptable and we can’t allow to become normal is the targeting of individuals as suspect, as not welcome, because of their identity.”

The antisemitic incidents took place at a number of locations, including at Jewish institutions and schools, in non-Jewish schools, college campuses, public areas, businesses, and homes, the report said.

In November, Jewish UMass Amherst student Dylan Jacobs was attacked while holding an Israeli flag at a pro-Israel rally on campus.

“The guy just charged out of the building, screaming, and then he punched me in the head a few times,” Jacobs said in a November interview with 7News.

According to the ADL, there were 139 antisemitic vandalism cases in Massachusetts in 2023, up from 82 in 2022. Among them, Taunton temple Congregation Agudath Achim had a Jewish slur spray painted on it, a swastika was etched on the roof of a home in Scituate, and another swastika was found at the West Natick MBTA station.

There were 293 incidents of antisemitic harassment in the state last year, up from 66 in 2022, the ADL reported. One of those was a hoax bomb threat at a Brookline synagogue.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has released a similar report, finding an overall 40 percent uptick in hate crimes against the Muslim community.

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