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

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Executive Summary

  • In 1999, 39 states and the District of Columbia reported 1,547 anti-Semitic incidents to the Anti-Defamation League. This marks approximately a 4 percent decrease in anti-Jewish incidents from 1998. This decline maintains the downward trend (interrupted by a small upturn in 1998) of the past five years.
  • Ironically, the latest decrease occurred in a year. that also saw three of the most violent anti Semitic incidents in many years, during the late spring and summer. On June 18, three synagogues were set afire in the Sacramento, CA, area, resulting in more than $1 million in damage. On the July 4 weekend, a lone gunman went on a shooting rampage in the Midwest, killing two and seriously wounding eight, including six Chicago-area Jews. On August 10, a lone gunman walked into a Los Angeles day care center and opened fire, injuring five people.
  • Anti-Semitic activity reported in 1999 comprises 868 acts of harassment (intimidation, threats and assaults) and 679 of vandalism (property damage as well as arson and cemetery desecrations).
  • As in the past, harassment directed at individuals and institutions made up more than half of all incidents reported.
  • The trend of decrease in anti-Semitic incidents comes at a time of growing public awareness about hate crime activity. Heightened sensitivity to this issue has led to the enactment of hate crime penalty enhancement statutes in 41 states and the District of Columbia; the Federal Hate Crime Statistics Act; and the formation of anti-bias education programs nationwide. At the same time, it must be noted that many incidents comprising the Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents are not crimes.
  • Sixty incidents of anti-Semitism occurred on college campuses, a 30 percent decrease from 1998. This finding represents a continuation of a sharp decline in campus incidents over the past five years. During that period, anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses have declined by more than 50 percent.
  • The Audit does not exist in a vacuum. While crime rates have declined, there are still many groups dedicated to promoting their racist and anti-Semitic worldviews. In addition to their mass mailings of anti-Semitic propaganda and printings of anti Jewish and racist publications, these extremist groups continue to find in the Internet a growing vehicle for their hate. As a medium that is inexpensive and almost impossible to regulate, the Internet has become an increasingly active component of the anti-Semitic propaganda machine.

What is the ADL Audit  

The ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, published annually since 1979,  is an account of overt acts and expressions of anti-Jewish bigotry or hostility. It reflects accurately the number of incidents reported to ADL and to law enforcement agencies when such figures are made available. It is not and does not claim to be a scientific measure of anti-Semitism in all of its forms.

Many incidents reported in the Audit are not crimes. For example, disturbing neo-Nazi pamphlets or slurs directed against Jewish individuals are both protected free speech. Therefore, there will be discrepancies between the total numbers of anti-Semitic incidents reported in the Audit and in official law enforcement bias-crime statistics.

The Audit is not only a catalog of anti-Jewish acts that take place in a given year.  It seeks also to uncover trends in anti-Semitic activity, especially trends in the types of activity reported, such as changes in the proportion of attacks against Jewish institutions.

About ADL 

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 "to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike." Now one of the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agencies, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.

A leader in the development of materials, programs and services, ADL builds bridges of communication, understanding and respect among diverse racial, religious and ethnic groups, carrying out its mission through a network of 30 Regional and Satellite Offices in the United States and abroad.

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