ADL: 'Anti-Semitic incidents in US declining'

Report finds drop in vandalism, harassment and physical assaults in 2008 part of 4-year trend.

chicago anti-semitism 248.88 (photo credit: Menachem Zimmerman [file])
chicago anti-semitism 248.88
(photo credit: Menachem Zimmerman [file])
The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States declined for the fourth consecutive year, according to statistics issued by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Monday. The ADL's annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents counted a total of 1,352 incidents of vandalism, harassment and physical assault against Jewish individuals, property and community institutions in 2008, representing a seven percent decline from the 1,460 incidents reported in 2007. The report identified 37 physical assaults on Jewish individuals, 702 incidences of anti-Semitic vandalism, and 613 cases of harassment in 2008. They included acts against high-profile Jewish community institutions and communal properties, such as the repeated vandalism of the San Francisco Holocaust Memorial, and the desecration of dozens of graves at a Jewish cemetery in Chicago with swastikas and hate group symbols. Of the total 1,352 incidents, 42% occurred at homes, private buildings or businesses, and 23% took place in educational establishments, including public and private schools and universities. "It is encouraging that the number of anti-Semitic incidents continues to decline, but the sheer volume of incidents reported and the violent nature of many of the physical assaults is a reminder that we cannot be complacent," said Abraham H. Foxman, the ADL's national director, also mentioning the recent alleged terrorist bombing plot against synagogues in Riverdale, New York. The report comprised data from 44 states and the District of Columbia, including official crime statistics as well as information provided to ADL's regional offices by victims, law enforcement officers and community leaders. The report identified criminal acts such as vandalism, violence and threats of violence, as well as non-criminal incidents of harassment and intimidation, including hate propaganda, leaflet distribution and verbal slurs. Anti-Semitic incidents last peaked in 2004, when the ADL reported 1,821 cases in the US.