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American Jewish Committee Reports on Vandalism Against Synagogues

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The recent nationwide upsurge of incidents of vandalism against synagogues and other Jewish institutions are not part of any centrally directed campaign or the works of any of the known organized anti-Semitic movements, according to a detailed report issued today by the American Jewish Committee.

The report, made public by Dr. John Slawson, executive vice-president of the AJ Committee, warns that these outbreaks are expressive of “a lingering violent anti-Semitism” and hence more disquieting than if they were part of an organized plot. It points out that the 14 anti-Semitic incidents in the United States in the five-month period ending December 31, 1965, are the most reported in any comparable period since the epidemic following the 1959 Christmas Eve Cologne synagogue desecrations.

The report stresses that the most serious of these incidents were “cases of wanton destruction most likely perpetrated by adults” rather than daubings or smearings done by juveniles or teenagers. It adds that even where teenagers were the culprits, the acts could not be classified as “mischievous behavior” but “vindictive vandalism and deliberate expressions of hostility toward Jews.”

During the five-month period incidents were reported in San Francisco, Chicago, Albany, Hillside, New Jersey, New York, Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Trumbull, Connecticut, Brooklyn, N.Y., Woodbridge, New Jersey, New Orleans, Bridgeport, Connecticut and Holyoke, Massachusetts.”No evidence has thus far been developed to indicate that they were conceived, planned or perpetrated by any of the two score or so known anti-Semitic movements, including the Ku Klux Klan,” the report says.

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