ADL audit: Anti-Semitic incidents down in U.S., assaults up

NEW YORK (JTA) — The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States decreased by 19 percent in 2013, but physical assaults against Jews increased, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

In its Annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, the ADL reported that there 751 incidents in 41 states and Washington, D.C. — among the lowest number since 1979, when the ADL began collecting data. The number of incidents has been steadily declining for the past decade.

The audit includes assault, vandalism and harassment targeting Jews and Jewish property and institutions reported to ADL’s 27 regional offices and the police.

“In the last decade we have witnessed a significant and encouraging decline in the number and intensity of anti-Semitic acts in America,” said Abraham Foxman, ADL’s national director, in a statement. “The falling number of incidents targeting Jews is another indication of just how far we have come in finding full acceptance in society, and it is a reflection of how much progress our country has made in shunning bigotry and hatred.”

The audit attributed the declining number of anti-Semitic incidents to “a relatively quiet year for anti-Israel activity in the public sphere.”

Despite the overall decline, the audit found a “significant” increase in “violent anti-Semitic assaults” — 31 assaults compared to 17 in 2012, although no assault was life threatening or required hospitalization.

“The high number of violent in-your-face assaults is a sobering reminder that, despite the overall decline in anti-Semitic incidents, there is still a subset of Americans who are deeply infected with anti-Semitism and who feel emboldened enough to act out their bigotry,” Foxman said.

Despite the overall decrease of incidents, the ADL reported increases in several states, including Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Michigan, Ohio and Texas. The states with the highest number of incidents were those with the largest Jewish populations: New York, California, New Jersey, Florida, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

The ADL does not count critiques of Israel or Zionism as anti-Semitic incidents, unless such criticism invokes “classic anti-Jewish stereotypes or inappropriate Nazi imagery and/or analogies,” the organization said in a news release. It does, however, count “public expressions of anti-Israel sentiments that demonize Jews or create an atmosphere of fear or intimidation for U.S. Jews.”

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