US sees slight increase in anti-Semitic incidents

ADL audit: States with highest totals are those with significant Jewish populations such as California, New York, New Jersey, Florida.

chicago anti-semitism 311 (photo credit: Menachem Zimmerman [file])
chicago anti-semitism 311
(photo credit: Menachem Zimmerman [file])
NEW YORK – The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States increased slightly in 2010 from 2009, according to an Anti-Defamation League audit released Tuesday, with the highest number of incidents occurring in California, New York and New Jersey.
The ADL audit of anti-Semitic incidents found a total of 1,239 incidents occurring in 2010, 29 more than 2009, in the first increase reported by the ADL in such incidents since 2004. The year 2004 saw a record high 1,821 acts of anti- Semitism, and each subsequent year until 2010 has shown a decline.
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“As a barometer of anti-Semitism in America, the audit helps us to identify trends across the country and to take stock of how and where anti- Semitism is manifested,” ADL National Chairman Robert G. Sugarman said. “This information helps us to work with law enforcement and others in cities and communities to address the problem of hatred of Jews.”
The states with the highest totals were those with significant Jewish populations. The top four states were California, with 297 incidents in 2010, up from 275 in 2009; New York, with 205 incidents, down from 209; New Jersey, with 130 incidents, down from 132; and Florida, with 116 incidents, up from 90.
The audit does not cover acts that take place in cyberspace, instead focusing on vandalism, harassment and physical attacks against Jewish individuals, community institutions and property across the US.
The audit notes 140 more incidents of anti-Semitic harassment, threats and events than last year, but 105 fewer cases of anti-Semitic vandalism and 7 fewer physical assaults on Jews than there were in 2009.
In one well-reported instance of assault, two suspicious packages, which were later determined to be explosive devices, were intercepted on cargo planes. The packages were addressed to Chicago-area Jewish institutions and were thought to have originated in Yemen as part of a terror plot by al-Qaida.
Instances of vandalism included one in California in which vandals spray painted anti-Semitic graffiti on the wall of a Jewish institution’s parking lot. The vandalism included a swastika with “88,”which is a commonly used number symbol meaning “Heil Hitler.”
Harassment constituted 73% of the total incidents. Among the reported incidents was a Florida cantor who received a threatening phone call that said, “Be careful. Hitler’s behind you, and he’s going to put an axe in your neck,” and in Connecticut an instance of graffiti written on a stone in the Jewish section of a cemetery, stating “Damn right you kikes aren’t gonna forget,” with a swastika below the words.
“While we have come a long way in society as Jews have been accepted into the mainstream, America is still not immune to anti-Semitism and bigotry,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said in a press release. “The good news is that we have continued to enjoy a period of relative calm, where the overall numbers are mostly unchanged and the incidents isolated.
“But the bad news is that for all our efforts to educate, to raise awareness and to legislate, anti-Jewish incidents remain a disturbing part of the American- Jewish experience.”