Pennsylvania Experienced a Record-High Number of Antisemitic Incidents Last Year

FILE - The Congregation Beth Israel synagogue is shown, Jan. 16, 2022, in Colleyville, Texas. The FBI killed pistol-wielding 44-year-old British national Malik Faisal Akram, after a 10-hour hostage standoff at the synagogue. More than four in ten U.S. Jews feel their status in America is less secure than it was a year ago, according to a new survey by the American Jewish Committee. The survey, conducted in the fall of 2022, was released Monday by the AJC, a prominent Jewish advocacy organization. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade, File)

By Ashley Adams

March 29, 2023

According to the Anti-Defamation League, reported incidents of antisemitism were up 65% in Pennsylvania for 2022.

Antisemitic incidents hit an all-time high nationally and in Pennsylvania in 2022, according to a report from the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.

The commonwealth accounted for 114 of the 3,697 incidents of antisemitic harassment, vandalism, and assault reported to the ADL last year. That’s a 65% increase from the 69 incidents reported in 2021, and the highest amount ever reported in the state in the ADL’s more than four decades of collecting data. Pennsylvania was one of only nine states to report more than 100 antisemitic incidents last year. New York experienced the most, with 580 reported incidents, followed by California (518) and New Jersey (408), 

The incidents reported in Pennsylvania include:

  • 35 in Philadelphia
  • 24 in Montgomery County
  • 22 in Pittsburgh
  • 5 in Bucks County
  • 3 in Allentown

White Lives Matter (WLM), a network of white supremacists, was behind 15%, or 128, of antisemitic propaganda incidents nationally and was most active in Washington (19) and Pennsylvania (11). 

The ADL recorded an increase in all types of antisemitic incidents, including harassment, vandalism, and assault. Some of that can be attributed to specific incidents in Pennsylvania.

Desecrating Jewish cemeteries and headstones is a long-standing act of antisemitic vandalism. One of the four times it occurred nationally in 2022 was in the commonwealth last March, when two juveniles damaged gravestones inside a Jewish cemetery in Franklin.

Pennsylvania also had the third highest number of bomb threats called into or emailed to Jewish institutions or schools, accounting for 10 of the 91 reported nationally. 

It might not come as a surprise that incidents of antisemitism hit an all-time high in Pennsylvania in a year that featured a gubernatorial race between Republican extremist Doug Mastriano and Democrat Josh Shapiro, who is Jewish.

Mastriano used campaign funds to advertise on the far-right social media platform Gab —  the same website used to amplify conspiracy theories by the shooter who killed 11 Jewish worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018. Mastriano also hired Gab’s founder, Andrew Torba, as a consultant for his campaign, paying him for privileged access to the Gab platform.


  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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