The number of so-called “hate crimes” in the US jumped to a 12-year high last year, according to the FBI. Hate crimes are crimes where the motive for the act is the victim’s membership of a particular social group. Victims of hate crime are most often members of minority groups based on race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
What are the reasons?
Experts say the surge in these crimes is linked to the COVID-19 epidemic – and the related economic crisis – and the heated tone of last year’s US presidential election campaign, which further polarised the country. Democrats often blame Trump for the rise in racist acts, especially because the former president is sympathetic to the idea of white supremacy and blames the Chinese for the “China virus”.
It is noteworthy, however, that the recent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the US is mainly attributable to the left-wing camp. This was particularly noticeable in May, during the period of the Israeli-Palestinian armed escalation. These often started with anti-Israel protests and ended in attacks on Jews and synagogues.
In particular, Democratic Congressman Ilhan Omar stands out for his constant anti-Semitic rhetoric. Strikingly, the Democratic Party leadership is proving tolerant of him, unlike when they had to condemn Republican racism. The left has also been gloves-off with the anti-Semitism of some of the leaders of Black Lives Matter.
The rise of white supremacy
Already in a 2009 study, US homeland security expert Daryl Johnson highlighted the power of the growing far-right movement in the US. What really infuriated conservative critics of the report was Johnson’s finding that returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans had become prime targets for far-right recruitment campaigns.