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Since Israel-Hamas war, antisemitism incidents increase in Midwest

FBI focuses on stopping antisemitism

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — FBI Director Christopher Wray said antisemitism is reaching historic levels during a congressional hearing on Oct. 31.

Agents around the country including Indiana are increasing their focus on combating antisemitism.

“Given what’s going on overseas in Gaza, it heightens our concern about potential targeted acts of violence, against Jewish Americans as well as against Arab Americans and Muslim Americans,” said Herbert Stapleton, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Office.

The Anti-Defamation League’s Midwest Office, which covers nine states, has received four times as many reports about antisemitic incidents since Oct. 7, than it normally does each month.

Israel launched attacks against Hamas on Oct. 7 after the terrorist group killed hundreds of Israeli civilians.

Suzanne Rothenberg, the ADL Director of Engagement for Indiana, said, “When I go to campuses and I hear kids say to me, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to go to class tomorrow because there is an anti-Israel demonstration, my heart breaks for them because they shouldn’t have to change their behaviors just because they’re Jewish.”

Federal agents are working with local law enforcement to get ahead of any potential threats.

“We don’t have any specific intelligence that tells us there are targeted attacks that are being planned against targets here in Indiana, against any specific group of people,” said Stapleton.

Rothenberg is encouraging people of all backgrounds to have an educated and honest conversation about the Israel-Hamas war. She urges people to speak up if they see something wrong.

“The worst things that have happened to the Jewish communities in history did not happen overnight. It happened from a normalization of antisemitic bias that comes through propaganda, and this propaganda is often pushed as a social justice cause.”

Anyone who wants to report a hate crime or other federal crime can do so using the FBI’s online tip form.