70% increase in extremist incidents in Florida between 2020 to 2021, ADL new report

Author: CBS Miami Staff
Antisemitic flyer found in a plastic bag, making specious claims about the Walt Disney Company. Credit: CBS Miami

There was a 70% increase in antisemitic and extremist-related incidents in the state between 2020 and 2021, according to a report released by the Anti-Defamation League.

In total, there were 207 extremist-related incidents in Florida in 2021, compared to 121 in 2020, according to the ADL Center on Extremism.

According to the ADL, the incidents were driven, in part, by widespread disinformation and conspiracy theories that have “animated extremists and fueled antisemitism.”

Florida is home to an extensive, interconnected network of white supremacists and other far-right extremists who often collaborate in planning and executing propaganda distribution campaigns, banner drops, and in-person demonstrations.

The report found new white supremacist groups have formed in the state, including White Lives Matter, Sunshine State Nationalists, NatSoc Florida and Florida Nationalists, while other extremist groups such as Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys have shifted their strategies to focus on the local level.

From January 2020 to August 2022, the ADL Center on Extremism recorded more than 400 instances of white supremacist propaganda in Florida. The overwhelming majority of these incidents involved the white supremacist groups Patriot Front and the New Jersey European Heritage Association

“Extremist activity is surging across our state, which should be extremely troubling to all,” said Sarah Emmons, ADL Florida Regional Director. “It’s critical that our leadership, government officials and all Floridians firmly denounce hateful rhetoric and condemn antisemitism and extremism whenever and wherever it occurs and demonstrate allyship towards each other.”

According to the FBI’s 2020 Hate Crime Statistics report (the most recent data available), 56.1% of nationally reported religion-based hate crimes in 2020 targeted the Jewish community. In Florida, hate crimes against Jews accounted for 80% of the religiously motivated incidents in 2020.

Florida has also seen a dramatic rise in antisemitic incidents, according to ADL’s annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents. In 2021, the number of reported incidents increased 50% over 2020 numbers, rising from 127 to 190. This included 142 instances of harassment, 47 instances of vandalism and one antisemitic assault.

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