LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11) - "A lot of this is rooted in deeply felt antisemitism and also hatred of people of color and immigrants," Amanda Susskind, Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), said.
Susskind showed FOX 11 images of anti-Semitic hate crimes and hate speech. She said the number of incidents are up from the latest data out from 2015 to 2016.
The numbers show a 34-percent spike nationally and a 21-percent increase here in California. "It’s up and I would be very surprised by the end of this year if it wasn’t considerably higher than 2016," she said.
In the first quarter of 2017 the ADL tracked and 86-percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents compared to the same time last year. The incidents included dozens of bomb threats to local Jewish centers.
"White supremacist activity absolutely takes place in this state there’s a number of groups that are based in Southern California," Susskind said.
The ADL, which tracks white supremacist groups nationwide, said it warned law enforcement ahead of the rally in Charlottesville, which the league views as another example of hate speech.
But University of Southern California Law Professor, Jody Armour, said it’s up to our nation to decide what’s tolerable while still protecting freedom of speech. "How do we vindicate the value of freedom of expression that we hold dear?" Armour questioned. "At the same time we try to minimize words that wound or symbolic expression that wound."
Armour says the scene in Charlottesville isn’t something new, but should serves as another chance to have difficult conversations.
"This is just another moment for us, another occasion for us to have difficult, uncomfortable conversations that we seem to have to have every couple months now," he said.
"Parents know to talk to their kids about sex and drugs, but they should talk to their kids about hate too," Susskind said.