Though the number of antisemitic incidents rose throughout the U.S. in 2021, New Mexico saw a slight drop, according to a report released by the Anti-Defamation League.

According to the Anti-Defamation League’s Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, cases of antisemitism rose 34 percent nationally — from 2,026 in 2020 to 2,717 in 2021. But New Mexico saw a decrease, from eight to six, in the same time frame. Cases in New Mexico ranged from swastikas graffitied on walls to violent attacks.

Neighboring states fared nowhere near as well between 2020 and 2021. According to the Anti-Defamation League, Colorado experienced 92 antisemitic incidents in 2021 compared to 60 in 2020; Texas had 112 incidents in 2021 compared to 41 the previous year; Arizona’s number rose from 23 to 56.

Anti-Defamation League Regional Director Scott Levin said the smaller Jewish community in New Mexico plays a role in the statistics. According to the American Jewish Population Project, New Mexico’s Jewish community has about 20,000 people. Texas’ stands at 245,000.

But Levin said he has noticed a rise in antisemitic incidents in New Mexico.

“I’ve been at this for 10 or 11 years that I’ve been at the ADL and, you know, there used to be none, or one or two incidents that happened,” Levin said. “So you don’t want to predict too much on a small sample size, but it is it is reflective of the fact that it’s just an increased amount of hate of all kinds across the country.”

According to the Anti-Defamation League’s heat map, the organization received no reports of antisemitic incidents in New Mexico between 2002 and 2015. In 2017, there were 15.

Levin said the rise may have been a result of the political climate surrounding the 2016 presidential election, which he said emboldened white supremacist hate groups.

He said conflicts between Israel and Hamas may have led to a spike in May 2021.

In May 2021, an Israeli student from the University of New Mexico was assaulted at a party by six people who made antisemitic comments to him. That same month, a Jewish community center in Albuquerque received a harassing email that included a reference to Adolf Hitler.

New Mexico Jewish leaders reacted to the survey with concern, but calm.

Alan Wagman, a spokesperson for Jewish Voice for Peace in Albuquerque, said that while he had not seen a recent increase in antisemitism in his community, he has seen it expressed more openly — pointing to incidents like the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Va.

He added racism, white supremacy and antisemitism often go hand in hand.

“If you want to combat antisemitism, you have to combat all forms of hate,” Wagman said.

Rabbi Berel Levertov of the Santa Fe Jewish Center said he does not worry about these type of incidents and generally feels safe and accepted by residents of the city.

“I just hope that law enforcement will find the perpetrators and they will be brought to justice and also given a lesson and find out what’s bothering them,” Levertov said. “We’d love to give them a lesson that teaches them about who we are, what we stand for and why there’s no reason to be hateful.”

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