Anti-Semitic incidents in US down by 10 percent in 2009

Hatred of Jews among many people is still rampant says the Anti-Defamation League.

anti semitism 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
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 in anti-Semitism.
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 value.”
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.