There’s an increased need to take “concrete steps to confront antisemitism” in Montgomery County, Maryland, said Alan Ronkin, the regional director of the American Jewish Committee.
The AJC released a statement following the report of students who, according to Montgomery Blair High School principal Renay Johnson, performed an “antisemitic salute” outside the school building during a lunch period.
Johnson sent out a letter to families on Wednesday and said that the incident is being investigated by the school system and that police had been notified.
In his statement, Ronkin cited a not-yet-released report from Maryland State Police showing that the number of antisemitic incidents reported to police shot up from 48 in 2022 to 77 in 2023.
Ronkin said in his statement that the information was shared at the Central Maryland Hate Bias Forum. He added that studies have shown “many Jews do not report antisemitism when it happens to them.”
Maryland State Police said its report will be released on Oct. 1.
In the meantime, Ronkin said in his statement that “we must take a stand in Maryland by rejecting all hate and bias and stand united.” He also called for “concrete actions including education” to combat incidents of hate and bias.
At a recent meeting of the Montgomery County Anti-Hate Task Force in August, Ronkin cited results from an AJC survey showing 23% of American Jews said that “Jewish institutions with which they are affiliated had been targeted by antisemitism over the past five years.”