The shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh is the latest event highlighting the growing number of anti-Semitic violence in communities across the country.
“There’s no question that there just seems to be a trend nationwide that people are no longer just expressing their Antisemitism online,” said the Midwest Regional Director of the Anti- Defamation League Lonnie Nasatir. “They’re taking it one step further in terms of vandalism, harassment and intimidation.”
Nasatir says the number of anti- Semitic incidents has increased 50% nationwide since 2016, including a 100% increase in the Midwest.
According to their data, Indiana had six reported anti-Semitic incidents from 2010 to 2016. However from 2016 to 2018, that number jumped to 21 incidents.
Within the past few months, vandals painted swastikas at multiple locations throughout central Indiana, which prompted Gov. Holcomb to speak out in favor of a hate crime law in Indiana.
“I’ve met with the governor on this issue too,” said Nasatir. “It was a special moment for us to see leadership at the highest level realize that it’s time. It’s time for Indiana to become the 46th state with a hate crime statute.”
Earlier this month, state lawmakers heard testimony from community leaders both in support and opposition.
“If you get into categories of people, as was testified this morning, there’s people left out,” Micah Clark of the American Family Association of Indiana said at the hearing on October 10. “I believe people of all crimes deserve justice.”
“We do need a law,” said David Sklar with the Jewish Community Relations Council. “(We) need to figure out exactly what the law looks like, but there’s overwhelming consensus that it’s time for Indiana to take this step.”
After multiple attempts to introduce hate crime laws in the state, lawmakers are preparing to try again next year, and Nasatir believes this time, it will happen.
“I think getting the governor’s statement saying he wants this to happen will hopefully move those forces with both chambers of the general assembly in Indiana to make it a reality,” Nasatir said.