BOCA RATON, Fla. — A new report released Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League shows a 71% increase in the number of extremist-related hate crimes and other incidents in the state of Florida between 2020 and 2021.
"These incidents have been driven, in part, by widespread disinformation and conspiracy theories that have animated extremists and fueled antisemitism," the ADL said in a statement summarizing the report.
The ADL says new white supremacist groups have formed, while some existing neo-Nazi and accelerationist groups "have broadened their audience through both online and on-the-ground activities."
Their report also states that some groups have shifted their focus to disrupting school board meetings and, in some cases, running for political office. Also recorded are instances of written propaganda distributed in neighborhoods and communities.
Hate crimes against Jews in particular, the report's figures show, account for 80% of all religiously-motivated incidents in 2020. ADL's analysis shows a 300% rise in such hate crimes since 2012.
ADL officials say a "whole of society approach" is needed to combat the rise in extremism and hate crimes. They say elected officials and community leaders must strongly and consistently condemn antisemitism and extremism "whenever and wherever it occurs."
They also call for legislation including a comprehensive hate crimes bill and a state Non-Profit Security Grant program.
Elected and community leaders "must advocate for election systems that are accessible to all voters and protected from violence," the report states, and that "law enforcement agencies should dedicate resources to hate crimes units" and related training.
The ADL also says Florida students must be "empowered" to learn an accurate viewpoint of historic events, such as the Holocaust, and to learn about bias in the information they access.