Antisemitic incidents in Missouri rise 100% since 2021


Jordan Palmer and The Anti Defamation League

Missouri experienced a record 30 antisemitic incidents in 2022 – a 100% increase compared to 2021. For perspective, the number of antisemitic incidents recorded in 2022 exceeds the number of incidents over the previous three years combined, 2019-2021, according to new data from the Audit of Antisemitic Incidents released today by ADL (the Anti-Defamation League).

Missouri’s increase mirrors the growing trend of hate and vitriol directed at Jews nationwide. The ADL recorded 3,697 incidents of antisemitism nationwide – the highest number of antisemitic incidents since the ADL started keeping records in 1979. This is the third time in the past five years that the year-end total has been the highest number ever recorded.

“We are extremely concerned with the explosion of hate and antisemitism in our state,” said ADL Heartland Regional Director Jordan Kadosh. “We must work together as a community to address hate and bigotry in all forms, and we invite every Missourian to join us.”

The ADL suggests reaching out to your elected officials and ask them to support law enforcement by giving them the tools and bandwidth they need to prevent and respond to hate crimes.

“Encourage elected officials and civic leaders to use their platform to speak out against antisemitism and hate in all forms and fight for anti-bias and bullying prevention education, like our No Place for Hate Program, in our schools,” said Kadosh.

The ADL H.E.A.T. Map

ADL H.E.A.T. Map is the first-of-its-kind interactive and customizable map detailing specific incidents of hate, extremism, antisemitism and terrorism by state and nationwide. This interactive map lets you read details on specific incidents, better understand tactics extremists use, compare activity by type and/or state and access and download raw data.

Click this image to visit the ADL H.E.A.T. Map
Click this image to visit the ADL H.E.A.T. Map for Missouri
Click this image to visit the ADL H.E.A.T. Map

Incidents on the rise in Missouri

According to the ADL Center on Extremism, which compiles the annual Audit, incidents of harassment rose 109% and acts of vandalism grew by 75% in Missouri from 2021 to 2022.

According to the H.E.A.T. Map, nine of the 30 incidents in our area were efforts by white supremacists to distribute fliers and stickers containing antisemitic tropes and hate-filled rhetoric. If you ever run across such materials, you’re encouraged to contact law enforcement. You should also file an incident report on with the ADL. You can do so online. The ADL will then partner with the appropriate agency to bring the incident to resolution.

Recent incidents in St. Louis

There have been three major antisemitic events in the St. Louis area that have made local and national news since 2021.

On November 5, 2021, a St. Louis man made three calls directly to the FBI stating his intentions to blow up Central Reform Congregation. Talking about Jews, the man identified as Cody Rush told the FBI “I hate them with rage.” Rush was arrested by St. Louis police and is currently serving a 30-month prison sentence.

On March 24th, 2022, both the Philadelphia and St. Louis Jewish Community Centers received online bomb threats.

“At this time, the nature of the bomb threats are unknown and the relevant law enforcement entities have been notified of the threats, the ADL said in a statement. “The threats reported came through online contact forms. Both threats contain similar language, both starting with ‘Ill be there at 12 to bomb your facility you ukranian jew filth i got bombs there now {sic}.”

Other community organizations, including a hospital, also received threats, according to a statement from the St. Louis J at the time of the incidents.

“Sadly, we have been through this before, however, that experience has equipped us to handle this situation with, we hope, minimal disruption to our J family,” wrote Lynn Wittels, president and CEO of the J when these the incidents too place.

Law enforcement in both St. Louis and Philadelphia reacted quickly and both incidents were ruled to be hoaxes.

And just two months ago, on January 25, 2023, Congregation Temple Israel was vandalized when someone scrawled graffiti on a monument at the entrance on Ladue Road. Creve Coeur Police are investigating the incident, which is being treated as a possible antisemitic hate crime.

National Incidents

Nationwide there were increases in each category: Incidents of harassment rose 29 percent compared to 2021; acts of vandalism surged 51 percent; and physical assaults jumped 26 percent. Significantly, the report found a doubling in activity by organized white supremacist groups, who were responsible for 852 antisemitic propaganda distribution incidents last year – an increase from the 422 propaganda incidents attributed to white supremacist groups in 2021. 

“We’re deeply disturbed by this dramatic and completely unacceptable surge in antisemitic incidents. While we can’t point to any single factor or ideology driving this increase, the surges in organized white supremacist propaganda activity, brazen attacks on Orthodox Jews, a rapid escalation of bomb threats toward Jewish institutions, and significant increases in incidents in schools and on college campuses all contributed to the unusually high number,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO, and National Director. “This data confirms what Jewish communities across the country have felt and seen firsthand – and corresponds with the rise in antisemitic attitudes. From white nationalists to religious fanatics to radical anti-Zionists, Jewish people see a range of very real threats. It’s time to stop the surge of hate once and for all.”   

Major Findings 

In 2022, ADL counted antisemitic incidents in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Audit classifies incidents into three categories: 

  • Assaults: 111 incidents were categorized as assault, defined as cases where Jewish people (or people perceived to be Jewish) were targeted with physical violence accompanied by evidence of antisemitic animus. This was an increase of 26 percent compared to 2021. A total of 139 people were victims of assault, an increase of 6 percent. There was one fatality. Perpetrators in four of the antisemitic assaults made references to Israel or Zionism. Orthodox Jews, who typically are more easily identifiable than other members of the Jewish community, were disproportionately targeted – comprising 53 percent of assault incidents nationally.
  • Harassment: 2,298 incidents were categorized as harassment, defined as cases where one or more Jewish people (or people perceived to be Jewish) were harassed with antisemitic slurs, stereotypes, or conspiracy theories. Acts of harassment increased 29 percent, up from 1,776 incidents in 2021.
  • Vandalism: 1,288 incidents were categorized as vandalism, defined as cases where property was damaged along with evidence of antisemitic intent or had an antisemitic impact on Jews. Acts of antisemitic vandalism increased 51 percent from the 853 incidents reported in 2021. Swastikas, which are generally interpreted as symbols of antisemitic hatred, were present in 792 of these incidents, up 37 percent from last year. 

The states with the highest number of incidents were New York (580), California (518), New Jersey (408), Florida (269) and Texas (211). Combined, these five states accounted for 54 percent of the total incidents. 

There were 589 incidents targeting Jewish institutions such as synagogues, Jewish community centers and Jewish schools, an increase of 12 percent from 525 in 2021. This includes the January hostage crisis at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, which ended without casualties and the British hostage-taker, an Islamist extremist reportedly inspired by ISIS propaganda, dead. Bomb threats toward Jewish institutions were unusually high, with a total of 91 – the highest number of bomb threats recorded since 2017.  

Antisemitic activity reported on college and university campuses increased by 41 percent in 2022, with 219 incidents reported at more than 130 campuses across the country. In non-Jewish K-12 schools, 494 incidents were reported, an increase of 49 percent.  

“It’s deeply troubling that there was such a sharp increase in school- and college-based antisemitic acts,” said Greenblatt. “This is a reminder of the need for more targeted education efforts aimed at rooting out hate and teaching acceptance. Holocaust education is increasingly important, which is why we are advocating for the passage of state laws mandating Holocaust education so schools are equipped to teach that history and ensure its lessons endure.” 


Antisemitic incidents tied to opposition to Israel or Zionism remained at concerning levels with 241 incidents, accounting for 6.5 percent of the total in 2022. This is higher than the 178 incidents reported in 2020, but a decline from 345 reported in 2021, which was unusually high due to incidents linked to the Israel-Gaza war in May of that year.  

The largest number of incidents – 70 – were associated with hostile anti-Israel groups such as Witness for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine, an increase of 19 percent from 2021. Sixty-nine of the incidents were cases of harassment. In one incident, an anti-Israel activist physically assaulted a Jewish person during a protest hosted by the group Within Our Lifetime (the attacker later pleaded guilty to hate crime charges.) 

Of the 241 anti-Zionist/anti-Israel-related incidents, 36 incidents took the form of white supremacist groups’ use of propaganda to foment anti-Israel and antisemitic beliefs.  

“Regardless of where it comes from, anti-Zionism is hateful, especially when it is used to intimidate students on campus,” Greenblatt said. “It is disturbing to continue to see both anti-Zionists on the far left and white supremacists on the far right using similar memes and tropes to spread antisemitism and hate, underscoring the fact that extremists from all sides rely on similar ideas to spread their hate.” 

Mainstreaming of Antisemitism in Popular Culture 

Some incidents were directly linked to events in the news. For example, hip-hop artist Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) was directly referenced in 59 incidents, an example of how his highly publicized antisemitic statements last year resonated with or motivated perpetrators. Extremist Black Hebrew Israelite groups were responsible for eight incidents, most notably surrounding the controversy involving basketball player Kyrie Irving.

“In a year when antisemitism found mainstream acceptance like never before, antisemites were emboldened to act on their animus,” said Oren Segal, Vice President of the ADL Center on Extremism. “From the antisemitic ‘Great Replacement’ theory to Ye’s claims about Jewish power, these conspiracies fueled real-world incidents of hate.” 


The ADL Audit includes both criminal and non-criminal acts of harassment and intimidation, including the distribution of hate propaganda, threats and slurs, as well as vandalism and assault. Compiled using information provided by victims, law enforcement and community leaders, and evaluated by ADL’s professional staff, the Audit provides a regular snapshot of one specific aspect of a nationwide problem while identifying possible trends or changes in the types of activity reported. This information assists ADL in developing and enhancing its programs to counter and prevent the spread of antisemitism and other forms of bigotry.         

The complete dataset for antisemitic incidents for 2016-2022 is available on ADL’s H.E.A.T. Map, an interactive online tool that allows users to geographically chart antisemitic incidents and extremist activity.

The Audit offers a snapshot of one of the ways American Jews encounter antisemitism, but a full understanding of antisemitism in the U.S. requires other forms of analysis as well, including public opinion polling, assessments of online antisemitism and examinations of extremist activity, all of which ADL offers in other reports, such as the ADL Survey of American Attitudes Toward Jews, Survey on Jewish Americans’ Experiences with Antisemitism, ADL Global 100, Online Hate and Harassment: The American Experience, Murder and Extremism and White Supremacist Propaganda.    

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