The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation recently completed its 2017 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, focused on the greater Milwaukee area, but including incidents from across the State of Wisconsin.

The audit tracks the continuation of an increase of overall incidents, and of particular concern is a sharp rise in incidents categorized harassment, threats or assault. All incidents in the report were corroborated, and it does not include unconfirmed reports.

“The proliferation of hate via social media is a phenomenon that affects us all, including the companies that provide social media platforms, legislators who set guidelines, and all of us who use these media,” said JCRC Director Elana Kahn.

This year’s findings shine a light on the unmasking of hate in the community. JCRC has seen that more people are feeling emboldened and are acting on it. The audit helps the organization understand where to focus its work.

JCRC sees the continuation of two trends, with steadily increasing numbers of incidents in two particular areas:

  • Almost one third of all incidents take place in schools or on college campuses.
  • More than 25 percent of all incidents involved the use of social media.

“We’re seeing a shift in how anti-Semitism is expressed,” said Ann Jacobs, JCRC Chair. “Until the last two years, the vast majority of anti-Semitic incidents involved verbal or written expression. But for the last two years, we’re seeing bold, direct, and personal acts. The difference is stark and worrisome.”

JCRC will focus its June 21 annual meeting on this issue by hosting journalist Yair Rosenberg, whom the New York Times has called “a digital Nazi hunter.”

2017 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents

Harassment, Threats and Assault

  • A letter sent to a Jewish elected official in western Wisconsin included a clipping of a newspaper article written by the official, with a hand drawn swastika and the words, “Concentration camp you go.”
  • Four bomb threats were called into the Jewish community campus, which houses a community center, two preschools, two K-8 schools, and a program for teens.
    As an 11 year old child walked home from school, a passing driver shouted, “We hate Jews. Let’s kill them.”
  • A middle school student drew a picture depicting a stick figure with a swastika on its head, pointing a gun and shooting his Jewish teacher in the head.
  • Swastika was drawn on a Jewish middle school student’s binder.
  • Middle school student drew a swastika surrounded by the number 10 on a small piece of paper and stuck it on a school bus seat where a Jewish student had been sitting.
  • A woman received five typed letters at her workplace that expressed anti-Semitic views, including calling her a “f*** Jewish bitch” and expressing anger at Jews in government.
  • A car was set on fire in the owner’s driveway and the garage was vandalized with two spray painted swastikas and the words, “go back to your own country.”
  • CEO of a Jewish organization received a threatening voice mail saying, “Pack up your bags with all of your other kikes and get the f*** out of our country.”
  • A student at a suburban high school was subject to hateful comments on group chats and in person. Comments included, “Watch xxx make some below average Jew slur about me now. xxx your such a f*** Jew I wish ou [sic] family would have all died. Man why did hitler have to die,” “hitler did nothing wrong,” and “It’s fucking hilarious you Jew.”
  • As a 13 year old boy walked to synagogue on Friday afternoon, someone followed him and shouted at him, including mention of “dirty Jews.”
  • The student government at UW Madison used discriminatory, exclusionary and underhanded tactics to pass a controversial Israel-related resolution, including scheduling the vote for Passover, when Jewish students were absent. Additionally, during an open meeting, the only Jewish council member was called “the elephant in the room.”
  • Middle School students sent hateful images and language to Jewish students via social media and posted on Instagram, including “Darth Hitler,” “Jew caught lacking,” and “I have a fetish where I’m in auschwitz [sic] as a guard and xxx is there too (obviously since he’s a Jew) and I’m guarding him and when i fall asleep he rapes me.”

Written and Verbal Expression

  • Printer at UW-Madison received a document with swastikas and charges of deicide and a long description of why Jews “lost all rights and ‘chosenness’ in the eyes of the Lord.”
  • Students at a middle school made Holocaust jokes and posted swastikas at the school.
  • In two separate incidents, Nazi flag were flown outside homes.
  • Facebook comments after an article about increased anti-Semitism, included insidious references to Jewish power.
  • Public wifi network glorified Adolf Hitler.
  • A recipient at a Jewish agency became angry about the speed of service and said, “Now I know why they want to kill the Jews.”
  • Students fashioned fence tiles into a swastika at their school.
  • A reader posted anti-Semitic images on a news media’s Facebook feed. One image was a hook-nosed man surrounded by stars of David, with a devious smile.
  • After losing a business contract, a businessman posted on social media many unabashedly anti-Semitic comments, including: “No freedom of speech in JewMerica” and “the back stabbing Jewish lapdogs” “The bastards own the politicians, the media, the banks and Hollywood.” He also accused Israel of having a role in 9/11.
  • – A flyer distributed at a local supermarket included the claim: “The Jews are trying to completely remove healthy, strong families by promoting RACE-MIXING.”
  • – An intricate cartoon drawing found in a university dormitory included Nazi imagery, swastikas, and the comments, “Der Juden,” and “Hitler did nothing wrong.”Comments on Gov. Walker’s Facebook page in November included: “IsraHELL owns #AmeriKKKan Politics.”
  • A comment on Gov. Walker’s Facebook page after a December Chanukah greeting called the Jewish festival a “fake holiday” and included the hashtag “MerryChristmasOrNothingAtAll.”
  • Comments on Gov. Walker’s Facebook page in December: “The Jewish people are being just like Hitler to the Palestinian people,” “F***Israel,” “Screw Israel and screw the (((globalist))) shekel lords.”
  • A Facebook comment about racism in the Jewish community called for the end of Israel, referring to Judaism as “Judaism.”
  • A worker employed by a City of Milwaukee contractor displayed neo-Nazi and racist stickers on his cooler.
  • Repeated tweets by Congressional candidate Paul Nehlen: “Just admit you are a (((bigot))) and I’ll pretend you didn’t pretend you were white…” Repeatedly telling the same man that he needs Jesus “You can’t fill a Jesus shaped hole in your heart…” and “Jesus died for our sins…The Jews who killed Him…” Calling another twitter user “a shill for the sheckles” Several uses of the phrase “The Goyim Know” Nehlen posted about reading The Culture of Critique. And a FB post: “If pro-White is White supremacy, what is pro-Jewish?”


  • “Jews” chiseled into the sidewalk at a Jewish institution.
  • Swastika drawn on a Jewish student’s binder. (Listed above)
  • A car was set on fire in the owner’s driveway and the garage was vandalized with two spray painted swastikas and the words, “go back to your own country.” (Listed above)
  • Swastikas and “We will rise again” were spray painted on a bridge in Central Wisconsin.
  • Spray painted graffiti on a Spanish Civil War monument at the site of High Holiday services included multiple swastikas and the words, “Trump Rules” and “antifa sucks.”
  • Swastikas scratched into 20 new vehicles in a car dealership lot.

Hate Groups

  • Students attempted to form an anti-Semitic, alt-right group at a state university.
  • A worker employed by a City of Milwaukee contractor displayed neo-Nazi and racist stickers on his cooler. (Listed above)
  • Nazi flags flown outside homes.


  • 30% increase in incidents
  • 150% increase in the number of incidents categorized as harassment, threats, or assault
  • More 25% of incidents involve use of social media
© Photo

Jeff Glaze