ADL reports national decline in anti-Semitic acts

ADL reports national decline in anti-Semitic acts

Despite a 20-year low, New Jersey reports slight rise in incidents

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in New Jersey rose slightly in 2011, even as the Anti-Defamation League recorded the lowest number of anti-Semitic incidents in the past two decades.

The ADL’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, released Nov. 1, tallied 144 incidents in New Jersey in 2011, up from 130 in 2010. The organization said the number of such incidents declined by 13 percent nationally.

The ADL reported a total of 1,080 incidents of assault, vandalism and harassment nationwide, compared to 1,239 incidents reported in 2010.

The report showed an increase, however, in the number of incidents of school bullying, with Jewish students reporting being harassed and intimidated by their peers using offensive anti-Semitic stereotypes or comments evoking the Nazis or the Holocaust.

The 2011 ADL Audit includes incidents recorded in 45 states and Washington D.C., including 19 physical assaults on Jewish individuals; 731 cases of harassment, threats and events; and 330 cases of vandalism.

Among the incidents highlighted in the ADL audit were attacks in Highland Park and New Brunswick in Nov. 2011, during which windows at Rutgers Hillel and the Chabad House were shattered by a brick. On the same weekend, three kosher restaurants, two Judaica shops, and a Jewish-owned hardware store had their windows broken.  A Jewish man described by police as “troubled and mentally ill” was charged in the attacks.

The states with the highest incident totals were those with large Jewish populations. The top four states were California, with 235 incidents in 2011, down from 297 in 2010; New York, with 195 incidents in 2011, down from 205 in 2010; New Jersey, with 144 incidents in 2011, up from 130 in 2010; and Florida, with 111 incidents in 2011, down from 116 in 2010.

Other states with double digit totals in 2011 include Massachusetts, with 72 in 2011, up from 64 in 2010; Connecticut, with 43 in 2011, up from 38 in 2010; Pennsylvania, with 38 in 2011, down from 42 in 2010; Illinois, with 21 in 2011, down from 28; and Texas, with 17 in 2011, down from 37 in 2010.

“It is encouraging that over the past five or six years we have seen a consistent decline in the number of anti-Semitic incidents across the country and that the numbers are now at a historic low,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director. 

The decline in incidents in the United States coincides with a rise in serious incidents of anti-Semitism around the world.

“To the extent that these incidents serve as a barometer, the decline shows that we have made progress as a society in confronting anti-Semitism and pushing it to the far fringes, making expressions of anti-Jewish hatred unacceptable,” said Foxman. “These declining numbers, while promising, must nevertheless be viewed in the context of other factors, including online expressions of anti-Semitism that are impossible to quantify and often go unchecked.”

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