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

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

Your contribution helps ADL
expose & combat
Hate on the Internet
Contribute to ADL

Note on Evaluating Anti-Semitic Incidents

Overt and obvious expressions of anti-Jewish animosity are certainly easiest to categorize as anti-Semitic incidents and the vast majority of incidents in the Audit reveal overt expressions of anti-Semitism. Swastikas spray-painted on synagogues or on tombstones in Jewish cemeteries, and epithets like "dirty Jew" directed against people wearing identifiable Jewish clothing (such as yarmulkes), are all clear evidence of anti-Semitism. More difficult to classify are situations such as when a Jewish institution is vandalized without any specific anti-Semitic graffiti. For the purposes of this report, any deliberate and gratuitous destruction of Jewish property (such as broken windows or display cases) brings the act into the sphere of the Audit. Therefore, a stone thrown at a synagogue window, even without any markings of anti-Semitic intent, is considered anti-Jewish hostility. While there may not be conclusive evidence to that effect, ADL makes judgments based on likelihood and probability.

  • ADL generally counts as anti-Semitic harassment the distribution of neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic materials to individual Jews, or the placing of such items on their property. This also holds true if the material is sent to a Jewish institution or posted in a public area.

  • A series of related incidents, such as anti-Semitic graffiti on neighboring Jewish properties in one night, or a mass mailing of anti-Semitic material to a particular neighborhood, counts as one incident, even though many people may be affected.

  • ADL also receives complaints of anti-Semitism directed at non-Jews. In ADL's view, anti-Semitic slurs, threats or vandalism "mistakenly" carried out against targets thought to be Jewish, or purposefully directed against non-Jews believed to be sympathetic to Jewish causes, are clearly signs of anti-Semitic behavior and deserve inclusion in the Audit.

  • Anonymously reported incidents represent an obstacle to maintaining the Audit's integrity. ADL seeks to corroborate reports of anti-Semitic activity to assure accuracy and to respond effectively and counteract such acts. While it is relatively easy to authenticate acts of vandalism against Jewish institutions or in public areas, verifying incidents of verbal harassment and slurs proves more challenging. Absent any additional follow-up information to support anti-Semitic intent, these reported incidents may be left out of the Audit.

  • ADL does not include cases of alleged employment discrimination in hiring, firing or promotion, unless the situation includes evidence of overt anti-Semitism. A claim of discrimination in itself, based on inferences of anti-Semitism because of alleged unequal treatment in work assignments or denial of time off for holiday observance, is not considered an incident for the purposes of the Audit. Such claims involve a different kind of anti-Semitic problem which, while hurtful to the complainant, are nevertheless distinct from overt expressions of anti-Jewish hostility.

From year to year, ADL strives to maintain a consistent policy of evaluating anti-Semitic incidents in an effort to make accurate and reliable comparisons. There are times, however, when a significant shift in the types of anti-Semitism reported emerges, which requires a rethinking of Audit procedure. In response to the explosion of Internet use in the past few years, ADL has instituted the following policy on evaluating Internet-related incidents:

Anti-Semitic hate messages, threats or harassment received by electronic mail are treated as if they were sent by traditional mail and are therefore considered anti-Semitic harassment. These messages are sent deliberately from one person to another in an effort to intimidate and frighten. As with mass mailings or local distribution of hate literature, an anti-Semitic E-mail sent to a large number of recipients is classified as one incident.

Hate-filled sites on the World Wide Web are not included as anti-Semitic incidents in the Audit. Much like the hate-filled propaganda newspapers published around the country, a Web site is a publication whose authors and points of view are often known prior to viewing.  It should be noted, however, that unlike these other publications, they are available to millions of computer owners.  While Internet users may be offended by reading Jew-hatred on the Aryan Nations' Web page, they should not be any more shocked than if they found it in a traditional source, such as the publications The White Patriot and The Klansmen.

The paramount purpose of the ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents has always been to provide one way of measuring the various forms of anti-Semitism prevalent in the United States. Communities and their elected and law enforcement officials can use this reliable analysis of anti-Semitic activity as a baseline criterion for evaluating these incidents. In this way, the Audit serves as a tool that tells part of the story of anti-Semitism in America.

1999 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents Front Page | Combating Hate Front Page

1998 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents Front Page | ADL On-line Home | Search | About ADL | Contact ADL

2000 Anti-Defamation League