Videos capture antisemitic acts in Bloomfield as officials say reports are taken daily

PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh woman reached out to Channel 11 after facing three separate acts of antisemitism within one evening.

Her report is one of more than 150 recorded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh so far this year, nearly triple the number of antisemitic acts reported during the same timeframe last year.

“This is no longer a community. This feels like I’m pretty wide open to be attacked,” the victim told Channel 11. The Bloomfield resident asked to remain anonymous for her safety, and Channel 11 is not revealing her exact street address.

The victim provided Channel 11 with three separate videos captured last Friday when there was increased pedestrian traffic in her area due to a nearby art event on Penn Avenue.

First, passersby are heard shouting things, in response to her “We Stand With Israel” sign, among others. One person can be heard telling her to kill herself. In a later video, individuals put the middle finger up.

In the third video, multiple individuals are seen walking onto her property, even onto her porch, and stealing her flag and signs.

“What’s next? Is there going to be a brick thrown through the window? What’s next?”

The victim later found the stolen items in a trash can a block away, and she has since put them back on display.

She reported the incidents to police, who confirmed for Channel 11 that they are investigating. She was previously the victim of antisemitism in February, as well.

“We are tracking incidents every day,” said Shawn A. Brokos, Director of Community Security for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. “We’re at multiple incidents a day, and it does not seem to be letting up.”

Brokos told Channel 11 that they are regularly in contact with local, state and federal law enforcement officials. They are further in frequent contact with the Jewish community, meeting with individuals to address their heightened anxieties and fears.

“We’re at a stage where Jewish residents may not feel safe in their own homes,” Brokos said.

While antisemitic acts are on the rise in Pittsburgh, Brokos said that they currently do not have any intelligence or indication of a planned attack on a Jewish space or individual.

“This is very localized. These are neighbors passing by or people passing by and having that very reactive experience,” she said. “It’s much different from what we’ve seen in the past, where we were so closely monitoring white supremacists and online hate speech... Now, it’s within the community, it’s this misguided approach from people within our own Pittsburgh community who are posing a threat to our residents.”

Brokos directly correlates the rise in hateful acts to the Israel-Hamas war. She said that productive conversations have proven difficult as both sides feel very impassioned.

“We’ve got to start engaging with each other, start talking with each other, and start learning a little more about each other, rather than just resorting to attacking and hate,” the victim in Bloomfield told us.

She also reported the incidents to the Anti-Defamation League.

A statement from Kelly Fishman, an ADL regional director based out of Cleveland, reads:

“Across the country, Pittsburgh included, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in antisemitic incidents. In fact, ADL’s most recent Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, released in mid-April, reported that antisemitic incidents in 2023 grew by 140 percent over the previous year.

In Western Pennsylvania, an area covered by the ADL Cleveland regional office, there were 76 reported antisemitic incidents in 2023, an 181 percent increase over the 27 incidents reported in 2022.

The massive spike last year was driven in large part by antisemitic reactions to the October 7 massacre by Hamas in Israel and the ongoing war in Gaza. As the war drags on, so, too, do the antisemitic responses.

We rely on law enforcement to do its job to investigate crimes driven by hate in our communities. No one should be subjected to antisemitic threats, let alone intimidation and harassment while in the safety of their home. If what’s been reported is true, we hope the perpetrators will be punished to the full extent of the law.”

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