Chants of “Jews will not replace us” punctuated the infamous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville last year, which also saw seven Jewish cemeteries desecrated. The physical assaults the ADL recorded included those of an elderly man at a Jewish retirement home, a 12-year-old boy on his way home from Friday prayers, a woman in a taxi, a person on a subway train and a man who was attacked and maced while waiting at a red light.
Public anti-Semitism has shown a sustained increase among “alt-right” white nationalists since President Trump’s 2016 election and continuing through this midterm election campaign, according to an ADL report published this month. Jewish Americans with a public presence, ranging from public officials to journalists to professors, say that such harassment has moved from rare to commonplace over the past three years. Twitter was uniformly cited as the worst platform, with one interviewee calling it “ideally designed for organized or non-organized harassment.”
The suspect in Saturday’s attack reportedly used the social network Gab, which has a reputation for being a platform for people banned by Twitter. NBC News reported the gunman made a specific threat against Jews in the hours leading up to the attack.