New York, NY, July 22, 2013 … The total number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States fell by 14 percent in 2012, continuing a two-year trend of incremental declines, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, issued today.
The ADL Audit reported a total of 927 anti-Semitic incidents across the U.S. in 2012 including assaults, vandalism and harassment, marking a 14 percent decline from the 1,080 incidents reported in 2011.
The 2012 total included 17 physical assaults on Jewish individuals, 470 cases of harassment, threats and events, and 440 cases of vandalism. The Audit includes both criminal and non-criminal incidents reported to ADL in 35 states and Washington, D.C.
The ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents has been conducted annually in the United States since 1979.
“It is encouraging that in the past few years we have seen a fairly consistent decline in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “While these numbers only provide one snapshot of anti-Semitism in America, to the extent that they serve as a barometer the decline shows that we have made progress as a society in confronting anti-Jewish hatred. Still, it is disturbing that there are so many incidents in America, and we must remain vigilant in responding to them and in encouraging law enforcement and the public to report these incidents as much as possible.”
Despite the overall decline in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2012, the complete picture is more complex. For even as anti-Semitic harassment, threats and events declined – to 470 incidents in 2012, from 731 in 2011 – other categories remained at a similar level or increased substantially.
“While we cannot point to any single explanation for the fluctuations from year to year, the declines of the past several years occur within the context of the continued proliferation of hatred online,” said Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair. “Unlike years ago, when racists handed out pamphlets on street corners or sent them through the mail, the Internet provides racists and bigots with an outlet to reach a potential audience of millions.
“This explosion of viral hate is impossible to quantify, but it may have led to a migration of sorts where the haters and bigots are more likely to take to the Internet to express themselves anonymously, rather than acting out in a public setting,” added Mr. Curtiss-Lusher. “The danger, of course, is that these online expressions can inspire and fuel real-world violence.”
According to the ADL Audit, the most dramatic increase was reported in the anti-Semitic vandalism category, which experienced a 33 percent increase – with a total of 440 incidents reported in 2012, compared with 330 in 2011. While the majority of those incidents took place on public property or individual homes, Jewish institutions were targeted in 13 percent of the total vandalism incidents.
Moreover, physical assaults – often among the most disturbing anti-Semitic incidents because they involve person-on-person violence – remained at a similar level, with 17 incidents in 2012, compared with 19 incidents in 2011.
Continuing a consistent trend for many years, the states with the highest totals were those with large Jewish populations:
The annual ADL Audit tracks incidents of vandalism, harassment and physical assaults against Jewish individuals, property and community institutions across the United States, using data reported to the League’s 30 regional offices and law enforcement across the country.
While the Audit does not include criticism of Israel or Zionism, such reports are included if they cross the line from legitimate criticism to anti-Semitism by invoking classic anti-Jewish stereotypes or inappropriate Nazi imagery and/or analogies. Public expressions of anti-Israel sentiments that demonize Jews or create an atmosphere of fear or intimidation for U.S. Jews are counted.
Such slurs were particularly present during Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel’s November 2012 military campaign against the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.
At a demonstration in Atlanta, one protestor held a sign that read, “Israel, the new Nazis” while another held a sign that had a Star of David pictured with a swastika in its center. Similar offensive messages were displayed at rallies in Chicago and Ft. Lauderdale.
While there has been a proliferation of anti-Semitic expression online, general anti-Jewish-expressions are not counted for the purposes of the Audit unless they target a specific individual.
The ADL Audit recorded a total of 17 anti-Semitic assaults on Jewish individuals (or individuals perceived as Jewish) in 2012, down from 19 in 2011. Incidents involved the use of physical force and/or violence, spitting, and thrown objects. The following is a list of selected instances of anti-Semitic assault in 2012:
The ADL Audit recorded 440 cases of anti-Semitic vandalism in 2012, up from 330 in 2011 (a 33 percent increase). Vandalism incidents are individually evaluated by ADL and are categorized as anti-Semitic based on the presence of anti-Semitic symbols or language; the identity of the perpetrator(s), if known; and the target of the vandalism and its proximity to Jewish homes, communities and institutions.
The 2012 Audit includes in its totals swastikas that explicitly targeted Jewish property or communal institutions. However, swastikas targeting other minorities or those used out of context simply for shock value were not counted. A total of 316 incidents involving the use or display of swastikas targeting Jews were included in the 2012 Audit.
The following is a list of selected instances of anti-Semitic vandalism in 2012:
The ADL Audit recorded 470 cases of anti-Semitic harassment in 2012, down from 731 in 2011. Incidents included verbal attacks and slurs against Jewish individuals (or individuals perceived to be Jewish); anti-Semitism conveyed in written or electronic communications, including anti-Semitic cyberbullying; and anti-Semitic speeches, picketing or events.
The following is a list of selected instances of anti-Semitic harassment in 2012:
The ADL Audit reported a significant increase in anti-Semitic incidents on campus during 2012. A total of 61 incidents were reported on college campuses, compared with 22 incidents reported in 2011.
Some of those incidents included the use of anti-Semitic imagery under the guise of anti-Israel activism, with conspiracy theories about Jewish political and economic control being voiced on campus. For example, at a May “Palestine Liberation Week” program at the University of California, Irvine, Amir Abdul Malik Ali, a Northern California-based imam, claimed that “Zionists” were responsible for the financial crisis in the U.S. He also argued that Zionism is a corrupting force for “Jews who believe in it.” At Northeastern Illinois University in March, Gilad Atzmon, a self-described Israeli “ex-Jew” who has described Judaism as “extremist, chauvinist [and] racist,” used Holocaust-related language to demonize the State of Israel and reiterated conspiracy theories.
The following is a list of selected anti-Jewish incidents taking place on U.S. college campuses in 2012:
ADL also continues to receive a troubling number of complaints about children, adolescents and teenagers engaging in anti-Semitic behavior, both on and off school grounds. These incidents include physical assaults, threats of violence, and verbal and written taunts promoting anti-Semitic stereotypes or evoking disturbing Holocaust themes. The following is a list of selected incidents in 2012 that represent anti-Semitic bullying of children, adolescents and teenagers by their peers:
The Audit identifies both criminal and non-criminal acts of harassment and intimidation, including distribution of hate propaganda, threats and slurs. Compiled using information provided by victims, law enforcement and community leaders and evaluated by ADL’s professional staff, the Audit provides an annual snapshot of one specific aspect of a nationwide problem while identifying possible trends or changes in the types of activity reported. This information assists ADL in developing and enhancing its programs to counter and prevent the spread of anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.