ADL: Anti-Semitism down

Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States declined for the third consecutive year, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

The ADL’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, which was released this week, catalogued 1,357 incidents of vandalism, harassment and acts of hate against Jews in 2007 – a 13 percent drop from the 2006 total of 1,554.Anti-Semitic incidents had peaked in 2004 at 1,821 incidents.

Data in the 2007 audit, drawn from official crime statistics and information collected by the ADL’s network of regional offices, include criminal and non-criminal activities.

“We are certainly encouraged that the total number of anti-Semitic incidents has declined for three years in a row,” said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman. “Yet we are still troubled that there are so many incidents reported, and that these incidents often involve expressions of anti-Jewish animus that are ugly and deeply hurtful to their victims and the communities where they occur.”

Not surprisingly, the states with the highest numbers of reported incidents were the states with the highest concentrations of Jews. New York topped the list with 351 incidents, up from 284 in 2006, followed by New Jersey (144 incidents), California (186), Florida (127), Massachusetts (95), Pennsylvania (99) and Connecticut (49).

Most of the reported incidents of harassment involved anti-Jewish epithets and occasionally a light assault. In one widely reported incident, a Jewish man suffered serious injuries in November when he was beaten by several assailants in the largely Orthodox enclave of Lakewood, N.J.

The audit noted that acts of vandalism were mostly directed at synagogues and Jewish cemeteries, and often involved the use of swastikas.

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