ADL Report Shows Anti-semitic Incidents Decreased Notably in 1985
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ADL Report Shows Anti-semitic Incidents Decreased Notably in 1985

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Anti-Semitic incidents directed against Jews and Jewish institutions in the United States decreased notably last year, according to the annual audit conducted by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.

The findings, made public today by Nathan Perlmutter, ADL’s national director, were divided into two basic categories: vandalism, ranging from swastika daubings to bombings; and personal assaults, threats and harassments.

They revealed 638 reported incidents of vandalism against Jewish institutions and private Jewish homes in 34 states and the District of Columbia, an 11 percent decrease from the 1984 total of 715. The 638 incidents included 6 arsons, as against 9 in 1984; 5 attempted arsons, as against 8 last year; 3 bombings, the same as in 1984; and 3 attempted bombings, as against 1 in 1984.

The report points out that although there were fewer incidents of vandalism, several were particularly disturbing and received nationwide attention. The audit also showed that there were 306 anti-Semitic assaults (such as beatings), threats and harassments (such as abusive mailings and telephone calls) against Jews and Jewish property, a 17 percent decrease from 369 in 1984.

The audit was prepared by the Research Department of ADL’s Civil Rights Division from data gathered through the monitoring activities of the agency’s 30 regional offices around the country.


Perlmutter pointed out that the new findings reflect a general five-year downward trend, interrupted by a small increase in 1984. He called the current statistics “encouraging” and said they were most likely the result of stricter legislation, vigorous law enforcement and increased educational programs.

He added, however, that while the audit is “a useful yardstick for measuring one aspect of anti-Jewish hostility in the United States, there are other manifestations of anti-Semitism.”


He singled out the following:

The criminal conspiracy launched by The Order, a neo-Nazi group committed to overthrowing the government which it declares is Jewish-controlled. Ten of its members were convicted by a Federal Court in Seattle in December (11 others had earlier pleaded guilty) for crimes committed in 1984, including the murder of Alan Berg, a Jewish talk-show host in Denver, and a synagogue bombing in Idaho.

The activities of such other organized rightwing anti-Jewish hate groups as the Ku Klux Klan, the Posse Comitatus and the Identity Church which pose continuing dangers despite declining membership.

The propaganda of Liberty Lobby and Lyndon LaRouche’s organization, even though both anti-Semitic groups suffered significant setbacks in 1985 due to defeats in law suits — Liberty Lobby lost its suit against William Buckley for calling it anti-Semitic; LaRouche lost his suit against NBC and ADL for defamation.

The collaboration of extreme left organizations in attacking the most basic concerns of Jews regarding the security of Israel.

The continuing anti-Semitic rhetoric in the United Nations by Saudi, Libyan, Jordanian and other Arab delegates, 10 years after the passage of the resolution equating Zionism with racism.


According to the audit, New York and California were again the states with the most vandalism incidents: New York had 199 as opposed to 237 in 1984; California had 85 as opposed to 99 the previous year. New Jersey succeeded Maryland as the third highest on the list and was one of the few states with an increase, 74 as against 56.

The other leading states were Florida with 47, down 4; Maryland, 38, down 31; Pennsylvania, 31, up 3; Illinois 23, up 4; Massachusetts, 22, up 2; Michigan 14, up 7; Virginia 14, up 5; Connecticut, 12, up 7; and Minnesota, 11, down 4. The remaining 22 states and the District of Columbia each reported fewer than 9 incidents.

Across the country, 78 persons were arrested in connection with 48 incidents in 1985. in 1984, there were 84 arrests in connection with 51 incidents. The ADL noted that the overwhelming majority of those arrested continued to be young people no older than 20 years of age.

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