United States & Canada
Posted: 8 November 2023
United States: Hate crimes are reported in the wake of the Israel-Gaza conflict
Following the Hamas attack on southern Israel and Israel’s retaliatory strikes on the Gaza Strip, reports have emerged of hate crimes targeting members of Palestinian and Jewish communities across the United States. Attacks have included an apparent antisemitic assault in Manhattan, an assault on an Israeli student at Columbia University, the assault of young Palestinian men in Brooklyn, and the murder of a six-year-old Palestinian boy in the Chicago suburb of Plainfield, Illinois. ACLED also records three related acts of property destruction. Speaking to a Senate panel on 31 October, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Christopher Wray, said that antisemitism “is reaching, in some way, sort of historic levels,” and that most religious-motivated hate crimes target Jewish people.1Max Matza, ‘FBI director warns antisemitism in US reaching ‘historic levels’,’ BBC News, 1 November 2023 The Biden administration also unveiled the first National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia amid a string of attacks targeting Muslim people.2Kiara Alfonseca, ‘Biden strategy targets new Islamophobia fears amid Israel-Hamas war,’ ABC News, 2 November 2023
United States and Canada: Israel-Gaza conflict triggers a wave of demonstrations
Demonstrations related to the Israel-Gaza conflict broke out across the United States and Canada. In both the United States and Canada, demonstrations related to the conflict made up more than half of all events in October, with more than 600 and 150 events, respectively. Over the first four days of the conflict, demonstrations in the United States showing support for Israel took place more than twice as often as demonstrations showing support for Palestine. However, on 12 October, when Israeli imposed a “total blockade” of Gaza,3Peter Graff, ‘’Only the beginning’ says Netanyahu as Israel makes first raids into Gaza,’ Reuters, 13 October 2023 pro-Palestine demonstrations spiked to surpass pro-Israel demonstrations, and would continue to outpace them for the duration of the month. On the whole, pro-Palestine demonstrations outnumbered pro-Israel demonstrations by about 50% in October. The largest proportion of both pro-Palestine and pro-Israel demonstrations took place in California, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine demonstrations were peaceful in more than 98% of cases.
In Canada, just under half of all demonstrations during October were related to the conflict, with more than 70% of these demonstrations taking place in Ontario. Unlike in the United States, pro-Palestine demonstrations consistently outpaced pro-Israel demonstrations in the country, with demonstrations in support of Palestine outpacing demonstrations in support of Israel by a factor of more than two-to-one.
United States: Ongoing far-right militia, militant social movement, and white supremacist training events and other activities
Far-right, militant social movement, and white supremacist activity decreased by roughly one-third in October compared to September, reaching its lowest single-month levels so far in 2023. In Arizona, far-right activity continued at a consistent rate, as the Lions of Liberty, the Chino Valley Preparedness Team, and the Verde Valley Preparedness Team continued to hold regular informational recruitment meetings. In California, the California State Militia’s Echo Company held a recruitment meeting in Turlock. Meanwhile, activity involving the Proud Boys increased compared to September after a lull in activity. In one instance, the Proud Boys rallied against LGBTQ+-inclusive legislation alongside members of the Freedom Angels, an all-women far-right group, marking the first recorded instance of Freedom Angels participation in a demonstration since January 2022.
Openly white supremacist activity also decreased by roughly one-third in October. The Goyim Defense League distributed antisemitic fliers in California, which accounted for half of all events, as well as Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Virginia. Similarly, the Order of the Black Sun held a demonstration and distributed white supremacist fliers in Texas, the California Blackshirts distributed fliers in California, and the Nationalist Social Club did the same in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Active Clubs, which are loosely affiliated with the Rise Above Movement, held at least three trainings in Ohio. Meanwhile, numerous white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups participated in demonstrations across six states in October. Among these groups were Patriot Front, the National Socialist Movement, White Lives Matter affiliates, Active Club members, members of the Nationalist Social Club, and Groypers. Almost half of these events expressed anti-immigrant sentiment, including many demonstrations organized on the Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day holiday on 14 October.
Patriot Front’s activity remained steady in October as the group held trainings in seven states, distributed fliers in two states, and dropped banners in 11 states. The group also marched in Boise, Idaho; Columbus, Ohio; and Hoover, Alabama.