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Jewish organization says antisemitic incidents increased 6% in Wisconsin in 2022

Chuck Quirmbach
Jill Plavnick, of the Jewish Community Relations Council's, Antisemitism Task Force, describes some of the antisemitic incidents reported in Wisconsin in 2022. Plavnick spoke Sunday evening, during a town hall meeting at the Jewish Community Center.

The Jewish Community Relations Council says there was a 6.3% increase in reported, reviewed and corroborated antisemitic incidents in Wisconsin last year.

The Council Sunday night released its annual audit of such incidents, saying 101 took place in 2022.

Antisemitism task force co-chair Jill Plavnick told a town hall meeting at the Jewish Community Center in Whitefish Bay that hate group activity went up 83%. "Most of these incidents include leafletting residential neighborhoods and schools, with flyers promoting antisemitic conspiracies theories—such as the idea that Jews control major institutions like media networks, the economy and the government," Plavnick says.

Plavnick says antisemitic incidents in K-12 schools increased 22%. "The incidents included swastika graffiti, Holocaust jokes, or direct harassment of Jewish studies," Plavnick says.

Plavnick also reports increases of incidents on college campuses and of vandalism. She says harassment, threats and assaults decreased, as did antisemitic social media activity and other expression.

Chuck Quirmbach
Miryam Rosenzweig of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation speaks during Sunday's event.

The Jewish Community Relations Council says the number of antisemitic incidents has gone up seven years in a row. The Milwaukee Jewish Federation says 70 different Jewish institutions around the state have additional protection—including schools, summer camps. community centers and synagogues.

Federation President and CEO Miryam Rosenzweig says security has two components:

"Physical security—what we need to do make sure (things are protected.) But much of our security work revolves around education and training, because it's really much more about awareness and situational awareness, if God forbid, we're in the moment in a case of antisemitism, or God forbid, some other acts of violence in the world around us," Rosenzweig tells WUWM.

But Rosenzweig also encourages Jews to work with people of other communities and faiths to find common struggles and bonds.

Chuck Quirmbach
Rabbi Jessica Barolsky comments during Sunday's town hall.

Rabbi Jessica Barolsky calls it building alliances against hate: "Invite a friend who isn't Jewish, or more than one friend who isn't Jewish, for Shabbat dinner, for Passover seder, to come to a Shabbat service, to attend an event within the Jewish community."

Still, with all the antisemitic incidents in Wisconsin and elsewhere, the Jewish Federation's
security director, Ari Friedman, says he's in the midst of applying for more security grants through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. That's after having helped about fifty non-profit Jewish organizations get more than six million dollars in FEMA grants over the last five years.

Chuck Quirmbach joined WUWM in August 2018. He focuses his longform stories on health, innovation, science, technology, transportation, utilities and business.
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