anti semitism 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
NEW YORK – While anti-Semitic incidents in the United States have dropped in the last year, the hatred of Jews among many people is still rampant, said the Anti-Defamation League on Tuesday.
ADL’s annual audit of anti- Semitic incidents in the US counted 1,211 incidents of vandalism, harassment and physical assaults against Jewish people, property and institutions in 2009.
“America is not immune to anti-Semitism, and 2009 was no different in
this regard than in any other year,” ADL National Director Abraham H.
Foxman said in a press release.
“It is a sobering reality that as Jews have become more accepted in
society, there remains a consistent hatred of Jews among too many. The
fact that Jews continue to be singled out for acts of hate on an average
of three times per day in this country is a disturbing reality that we
have to confront,” he said.
According to the audit, the US saw 29 physical assaults on Jews, 760
incidents of anti- Semitic harassment and threats, and 422 cases of
anti- Semitic vandalism during the 2009 calendar year.
While the number of anti- Semitic incidents in the 2009 audit went down
from last year’s audit (1,352), ADL stated that the 10 percent drop was
due to new reporting methods and methodologies, rather than a decrease
As an example, the audit stated, the ADL now takes “a more conservative
approach to counting graffiti,” noting that “the Nazi swastika is no
longer exclusively used as a hate symbol against Jews; rather, it
appears today in vandalism incidents against African- Americans,
Hispanics, and other minorities, and is sometimes used by juveniles who
are not necessarily targeting Jews but just using it for its shock
Major incidents of anti-Semitism in 2009 noted by the audit included the
shooting attack on the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
by an avowed Holocaust denier, a thwarted plot by four Muslim converts
to bomb synagogues in Riverdale, New York, and repeated picketing of
institutions and community centers by the Westboro Baptist Church – an
avowedly anti- Semitic Kansas-based church.
The audit also notes that in 2009, anti-Israel protests were “a major
source of anti-Semitic expression in the US,” including anti-Semitic
expressions at anti-Israel rallies held to protest Israel’s actions in
Gaza in January 2009.
Anti-Semitic incidents occurring in cyberspace, however, were not
counted as part of the report. “This decision was made because
anti-Semitism in cyberspace, a matter of great concern to ADL, is
virtually impossible to quantify,” ADL’s Web site explained. Reports of
Internet anti-Semitism “came in at a substantially increased pace in
2009,” said the report.
The four states with the most anti-Semitic acts, according to the audit,
were California, with 275 incidents, or 23% of the total; New York with
209 incidents, or 17% of the total; New Jersey with 132 incidents, or
10% of the total; and Florida with 90 incidents, or 7% of the total. The
audit’s data includes 46 states and the District of Columbia.
Among assault incidents reported was a “kick a Jew day” at a Florida
middle school and numerous bomb threats against Jewish institutions.
Vandalism acts included rocks thrown at synagogues, anti-Semitic
graffiti and desecrations of Jewish cemeteries. Harassment, including
anti-Jewish taunts, accounted for over 62% of incidents reported.
ADL’s audit identifies both criminal and non-criminal acts of harassment
and intimidation, including hate propaganda, threats and slurs. The
audit is compiled using official crime statistics, as well as
information separately provided by victims, law enforcement officers and
community leaders and evaluated by ADL.