I Executive Summary
II Summer 1999: A Season of Hate
III The Findings
IV Anti-Semitism and the Internet
V Harassment, Threats and Assaults
VI Vandalism Incidents
VII Campus Incidents
VIII

Regional Breakdown

IX Arrests
X Conclusion
XI President Clinton on ADL & Hate Crime
XII Federal Hate Crime Response Initiatives
XIII A Note on Evaluating Anti-Semitic Incidents
 
Charts and Graphs
  Audit Data Charts
 

Listing of Reported
Campus Incidents

  Related Link(s):
  ADL Model Hate
Crimes Legislation

  States with Penalty-Enhancement Hate Crimes Laws
  State Hate Crimes Statutory Provisions
  ADL Resources

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Conclusion 

The figure of 1,547 represents the lowest number of Anti-Semitic incidents reported to ADL since 1989, when there were 1,432 incidents. It is also significantly lower than the average of the past five years (1,659), and lower still than the of average of the past 10 years (1,752). Ironically, this has occurred against the backdrop of some of the worst episodes of anti-Semitic violence in recent memory, the summer of 1999.

Through the efforts of ADL, law enforcement and others, Jewish institutions have become more security conscious, and have taken steps to better protect themselves. In 1999, Jewish institutions experienced an 18 percent decrease in vandalism attacks, as the number fell from 130 in 1998 to 106 in 1999. Likewise, the number of harassment incidents against Jewish institutions fell to 131 from 182 in 1998, a decline of 28 percent.

In many ways the Jewish community in America is safer and more secure than ever before in American history. Recognition at the highest levels of government that anti-Semitism will not be tolerated in the 21st century, as well as responsiveness to incidents such as those which occurred this summer, contribute to this sense of security and well-being. In addition, ADL surveys of recent years reflect a steady decline in anti-Semitic attitudes held by Americans.

Yet, while these decreases and the five- and 10-year trends inspire cautious optimism, they should not invite complacency or overconfidence. Anti-Semitism in the U.S. should not be viewed as just the sum total of incidents reported to ADL. These incidents are part of a larger picture, which must be placed in the broader context. According to the FBI's annual report on hate crimes, more than 75 percent of all such acts perpetrated on the basis of religion were directed against Jewish individuals and institutions. Further, as always, anti-Semitic and racist organizations such as the World Church of the Creator, the National Alliance and the Ku Klux Klan continue to recruit members and advertise their hatred to as many eyes and ears as possible. ADL has documented and monitors dozens of major organizations and movements active on the extreme-right fringe of American society. These groups are responsible for an equal number of publications. Many of them have gained access to much wider audiences by building Web sites that promote their propaganda. These sites, numbering in the hundreds and growing, are relatively easy and inexpensive to build and maintain, and because the Internet is virtually impossible to regulate, they can influence Web surfers, many of them children and teen-agers. They facilitate communication and coordination among such groups.

Even with a clear understanding of hate groups in America, the Audit does not fully tell the story; behind each individual incident, each statistic, lies a real person or community in pain. The lasting effect of anti-Semitism and racism on individuals and communities should not be overlooked.

Community leaders have a significant role to play in relieving the effects of anti Jewish incidents, and in helping prevent similar acts in the future. In their distinct spheres of influence, educators, clergy, law enforcement personnel and parents have the opportunity to act and speak out against hateful speech and behavior, while promoting education that encourages tolerance and respect for differences. Over time, proactive measures such as education, anti-bias and diversity training and hate-crimes legislation can lead to changes in behavior that may reduce hate activity. In the meantime, we are faced with a seemingly paradoxical reality: on the one hand, 1999 witnessed some of the most horrific acts of anti-Semitic violence in recent memory, focusing the attention of the Jewish community in America to a significant degree. On the other hand, in the main anti-Semitic incidents were down in 1999. That paradox reflects the complexity of American Jewish life at the beginning of the new millennium.

 



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