JERUSALEM (JTA) — The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States declined for the fourth consecutive year, according to an annual audit.
The Anti-Defamation League’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, released Monday, counted a total of 1,352 incidents of vandalism, harassment and physical assaults against Jewish individuals, property or community institutions in 2008, a 7 percent decline from the 1,461 incidents reported in 2007.
The audit identified 37 physical assaults on Jewish individuals, 702 incidences of anti-Semitic vandalism and 613 cases of harassment in 2008. They included acts against high-profile Jewish community institutions and communal properties, such as the repeated vandalism of the San Francisco Holocaust Memorial, and the desecration of dozens of graves at a Jewish cemetery in Chicago with swastikas and hate group symbols.
Some 42 percent of the incidents occurred at homes, private buildings or businesses, and 23 percent took place in educational establishments, including public and private schools and universities, according to the audit.
"It is encouraging that the number of anti-Semitic incidents continues to decline, but the sheer volume of incidents reported and the violent nature of many of the physical assaults is a reminder that we cannot be complacent," said Abraham Foxman, ADL’s national director.
The states with the highest totals were those with large Jewish populations, including New Jersey, California, New York, Florida and Pennsylvania. The top four states accounted for 59 percent of the anti-Semitic incidents recorded by ADL.
Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States last peaked in 2004, when ADL reported 1,821 incidents.