2011 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents

  • October 29, 2012

Read the full report here: 2011 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents (PDF).

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2011 remained at a disturbing level.  While the total count of traditional manifestations of anti-Semitism declined, troubling manifestations of anti-Semitism in school bullying incidents and vandalisms continued to be reported in significant numbers.

The Anti-Defamation League's annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents recorded 1,080 anti-Semitic incidents in the United States in 2011, representing a 13% decrease from the 1,239 incidents reported in 2010.

These included:

  • 19 physical assaults on Jewish individuals;
  • 731 cases of anti-Semitic harassment, threats and events;
  • 330 cases of anti-Semitic vandalism.

Despite the relative decrease measured in the 2011 Audit, the U.S. is by no means immune to the world's oldest hatred. In fact, the complete picture is less than rosy: even as anti-Semitic harassment, threats and events decline, anti-Semitic vandalism and physical assaults—often among the most disturbing anti-Semitic incidents—are holding steady.

It should be noted that the explosion of anti-Semitic comments, imagery and threats found on conspiracy websites, blogs, social networking sites, comment sections, and other corners of the internet are not counted in this Audit. Those online expressions, along with the incidents reported here, demonstrate that anti-Semitism in America is a serious and enduring problem.

The decrease in the overall number of anti-Semitic incidents follows a slight increase the previous year. Although no single explanation accounts for these fluctuations, they occur within the context of the continued outpouring of online hatred against Jews and others. On the one hand, the virtual world provides an outlet for those who would have never expressed themselves in non-virtual environments. On the other, hateful rhetoric online does often influence real world beliefs and behavior.

ADL also continues to receive a distressing 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. As public awareness of bullying incidents that alienate and pose real danger to our youth increases, so must recognition of the anti-Semitism that in many cases drives or exacerbates these incidents.

In addition, 2011 saw two violent plots that targeted Jews. White supremacists David Pedersen and Holly Grigsby allegedly researched the names and addresses of Jewish organizations in several West Coast cities to identify Jewish individuals to kill and created a draft "press release" to alert the media about such killings. They were allegedly traveling to Sacramento to target Jews when police apprehended them in October, following a three-state murder spree that left four people dead.

Danny Lee Warner, Jr., a convicted felon who was active in a white supremacist prison gang and had a long history of serious violence, was arrested in December after jumping parole and allegedly sending his wife a letter that read, "I'm headed down South to kill some n-----s and Jews until the government gets me -- hopefully I'll get enough to make it all worth it before I go."

The 2011 Audit includes incidents reported in 45 states and Washington, DC. The data was evaluated by ADL's professional staff after being collected from official crime statistics as well as from information provided to ADL's regional offices by victims, law enforcement contacts, and the wider community. The Audit provides an annual snapshot of some aspects of the problem of anti-Semitism and assists with the identification of national trends and changes in the types of activity reported.

More from this Section