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
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The Regional Breakdown

Of the 1,547 anti-Semitic incidents reported to ADL in 1999, 901, or 58 percent, occurred in the East; 329, or 21 percent, occurred in the West; 126, or 8 percent, occurred in the Midwest; and 191, or 12 percent, occurred in the South.

The East > The West > The Midwest > The South

East In the 11 Eastern states plus the District of Columbia, there were a total of 899 incidents (compared to 894 in 1998), the highest of the four regions. Once again, New York had the most (352, up from 324 in 1998), followed by New Jersey (226, down from 229); Massachusetts (111, up from 107); Pennsylvania (82, up from 70); Connecticut (79, up from 52); Maryland (17, down from 69); the District of Columbia (17, down from 20); New Hampshire (6, down from 8); Maine (3, down from 6); Delaware (3, up from 0); Rhode Island (2, down from 6), and Vermont (1, down from 3).

 

In the East: A Disturbing Number of Incidents Involving Teenagers
During 1999, New England was alarmed by the number of anti-Semitic incidents involving youth. In December 1999 in Duxbury, MA, paintballs and a rock were thrown through the window of a Jewish family's home and a note was left in the mailbox saying, "This is what happens when you don't decorate for Christmas." The District Attorney is charging three teen-age girls under the state's Hate Crime Law. The Anti-Defamation League is working with the interfaith community and met with a diverse group of students, parents, and teachers to address various issues within the school. ADL and school administrators have committed to continued programming to create a positive result from this unfortunate incident. Massachusetts also saw anti-Semitic acts by teen-agers in Andover, where five high school students burned a 20' x 20' swastika into the playing field next to the school. The community responded by rallying together to condemn this and all messages of hate. ADL is working closely with students, school administrators and teachers.

The World Church of the Creator, a hate group based in Peoria, IL, is active in the East, distributing hate-filled anti-Semitic and racist literature on the North Shore in Massachusetts and in parts of Connecticut. Although distribution of the literature is protected by the First Amendment, ADL has been vocal in letting communities know about the World Church of the Creator's record of violence and hate.

As the Internet continued to expand into every corner of our culture in 1999, electronic mail emerged as a favorite vehicle for purveyors of hate. In New York, anti-Semitic E-mails are the favored method of attack. One anti-Semitic offender in Nashua, NH, is being prosecuted for E-mails he sent to a Jewish man in which he made vulgar and terrifying threats and references to the victim and his family, some of whom had fled Europe to escape the Holocaust.

Connecticut saw an increase in the overall number of incidents at Jewish institutions in 1999 (including at least two bomb threats), leading ADL to expand its security outreach and training programs for community institutions. Of equal concern was the surprising number of incidents involving young people, including a cemetery desecration by high-school students. Internet incidents included E-mailed threats of violence and the chat-room harassment of a high school student.

On Long Island, anti-Semitic crimes now comprise a much larger percentage of all bias crimes. Anti-Semitic acts in 1999 included 75 swastikas etched into school windows at Centereach High School, and vandalism to cars parked in a South Huntington Jewish Center parking lot during services. In Hauppauge, an arsonist set fire to the office of a synagogue. Long Island also saw numerous anti-Semitic E-mails sent to Jewish people, including a teacher in Nassau County.

In response to incidents of anti-Semitism in 1999, ADL Long Island brought model hate-crime legislation to the Suffolk County Legislature and through lobbying efforts secured unanimous passage of a County Hate Crimes Law with monetary penalties for bias crimes.

The ADL offices in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City are also working closely with law enforcement, school and communities to respond to every incident in a constructive and meaningful way.

The West > The East > The Midwest > The South


In the 13 Western states, there were a total of 331 anti-Semitic incidents in 1999 (up from 308). California had the most, with 275 (up from 223 in 1998), followed by Colorado (13, up from 12); Nevada (12, up from 10); New Mexico (12, up from 11); Washington (6, down from 19); Utah (6, up from 0); Arizona (4, down from 26); Idaho (2, down from 4); Hawaii (1, up from 0); Oregon (0, down from 2), and Wyoming (0, down from 1). There were also no incidents reported in Alaska or Montana in 1999 or 1998.

Responding to a Year of Tragedy: A View from the West

Vicious hate crimes targeting the Jewish community in the West made front-page news worldwide in 1999. In June, three synagogues in Sacramento were set on fire. The suspects, Matthew and Tyler Williams, are awaiting trial for the murder of a gay couple in Northern California. In August, Buford Furrow allegedly shot five people at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in suburban Los Angeles before murdering Joseph Veto, a Filipino postal carrier. In November, a synagogue in Reno was firebombed, and area skinheads have been charged with the crime.

Yet Jews were not the sole targets of this year's brutal rampages. In jailhouse interviews, the Williams brothers reportedly spoke about killing Jews and gays as part of their mission. After going on a shooting spree at the Jewish Community Center, Buford Furrow allegedly shot Joseph Veto because he was both a non-white and a Federal employee. Like Benjamin Smith's Midwest shooting spree targeting Jews, African Americans and Asian Americans, this new generation of haters targets anyone who is "different."

One of the most disturbing threads that ran through hate crimes this year was the age of the perpetrators. Members of the Nazi Low Riders, a vicious white supremacist prison and street gang that has recently come of age, are primarily under the age of 30. All of the suspects in the Reno firebombing are under 30. The Williams brothers are college educated.

According to national and regional statistics, juveniles commit approximately 50 percent of all hate crimes in which the perpetrators are known. In addition, many young white supremacists in the West host Web sites and send out Internet newsletters that reach many racists and in turn seek to recruit young members. Indeed, as ADL reports have emphasized, the Internet has become the communication medium of choice for the new generation of haters.

Hate Group Involvement

In the West, many extremists appear to be dancing in a mosh pit of hatred, bumping up against violent and racist ideologies of different hate groups. At the home of Tyler and Matthew Williams, law enforcement officials found literature from a number of different,

and often conflicting, hate groups. In a similar vein, groups that have traditionally shunned or actively opposed each other appear to be joining forces against their "common enemies." For instance, Tom Metzger of White Aryan Resistance, a "pure racist" who has always shunned religion, has been associating with Christian Identity groups such as the Aryan Nations.

In this year of tragedy, both the dedication of law enforcement and the support of community members stand out. Law enforcement response was swift and effective. It is apparent that the educational and training initiatives undertaken by ADL and other groups have contributed to the vigilant response. After the crimes, law enforcement officials spent many hours with community institutions helping them implement security procedures. After the shooting at the North Valley JCC, the brave actions of the Los Angeles Police Department saved the life of one of the victims. The additional heroics performed by a team of paramedics, doctors and nurses insured that the five people shot at the JCC survived. At the Sacramento Unity Rally, thousands of people came out to support the Jewish community and speak out against hate. In Los Angeles, the family of Joseph Ileto has become a powerful voice against bigotry, giving hope that tolerance and respect will prevail.

The Midwest > The East > The West > The South

In the 14 states comprising the Midwestern region, there were 126 incidents (down from 201) reported to ADL in 1999. Michigan had the most, with 32 (down from 57 in 1998), followed by Illinois (31, down from 36); Ohio (22, down from 35); Minnesota (14, down from 32); Missouri (11, up from 7); Wisconsin (8, down from 16); Indiana (4, down from 6); Nebraska (2, down from 3); West Virginia (1, down frorn 2); Iowa (1, down from 2); Kansas (0, down from 3); Kentucky (0, down from 1), and South Dakota (0, down from 1) Again, no incidents were reported in North Dakota in 1999.

The Midwest: Harvesting the Bitter Fruits of Hate

The July 4 weekend of 1999 was, for some in the Midwest, both the beginning and the violent end of summer. On the evening of July 2, Benjamin Nathaniel Smith, an avowed white supremacist and leader in a fiercely anti-Semitic and racist organization known as the World Church of the Creator, initiated a twostate shooting spree that claimed two lives and injured nine. The victims were all members of racial and religious minority groups including African Americans, Asians and Jews. Smith was so consumed by the hate rhetoric espoused by the WCOTC that, much like a drug addict who becomes a slave to his or her addiction, he ended up taking his own life in pursuit of his hate objectives.

ADL had been following Smith for the preceding 18 months in connection with his distribution of anti-Semitic and racist literature championing "RAHOWA," or "racial holy war." Smith was arrested for violating municipal littering ordinances and DUI charges. He acknowledged in a documentary purchased by ABC News after the shooting spree that if "they the government] won't let us pass out our literature we will have no choice" but to engage in violence.

Both in scope and dimension, the crimes of Benjamin Smith represented unprecedented regional hate-motivated violence. Smith was substantially motivated and swayed by Matthew Hale, the self-declared leader of the World Church of the Creator. As "Pontifex Maximus" of the "church," Hale advocates a total separation of races in order to protect the genetic integrity of the white race from the threats posed by "mud races" including Jews, African Americans and all other racial and ethnic minorities. Hale promotes the elimination of non-white races from the United States by "repatriation to countries of origin."

In eulogizing Smith's suicide to the media, Hale recalled bestowing the WCOTC's Leadership Award on Smith for his zealotry in distributing the organization's hate rhetoric. In fact, Smith was credited for distributing more than 45,000 pieces of hate literature throughout the suburbs of northern Chicago. Following Smith's death, Matthew Hale and his followers have increased their distribution of hate literature and public appearances throughout the Midwest including recruitment efforts at Northwestern University in Chicago, public appearances at Indiana University, and a newly conceived cable-access television show. The events in the aftermath of Smith's shooting spree have afforded Hale and his band of bigots a degree of media coverage that Hale eagerly covets. In a recent development, Hale was invited by a professor at the University of Illinois-Springfield to lecture to a class on "Ethics and Social Responsibility."

For the last year, ADL has confronted the swill being dispensed by Hale and the World Church of the Creator. Security conferences, media appearances, victim support, educational initiatives and law enforcement outreach represent a sampling of the many activities in which ADL has been engaged to counter the insidious rhetoric of the WCOTC. While Hale continues to pursue his nefarious objectives, ADL seeks to insure that his is not the last word.

The South > The East > The West > The Midwest

In the 12 Southern states, there were a total of 191 incidents (down from 201). Florida reported the most (88, down from 102 in 1998), followed by Texas (28, down from 30); Georgia (25, up from 20); North Carolina (19, up from 9); Virginia (18, down from 38); Louisiana (7, up from 3); Arkansas (3, up from 2); Tennessee (2, up from 0); Mississippi (1, up from 0); South Carolina (0, down from 2), and Alabama (0, dwn from 2). No incidents were reported in Oklahoma in 1999 or 1998.

Age-Old Prejudice in the New Millennium:
A Southern Perspective

As the new millennium dawns, the American Jewish community looks back on the 20th century asking itself the age-old question: how did we fare? Certainly the past hundred years were filled with marked contrasts for Jews in America; the early years were filled with coarse, overt anti-Semitism but subsequent decades have brought an increasing acceptance and success.

The South has always been an extraordinary and exotic place for Jews, in part due to their relatively small numbers. Emigrating from Europe and Russia in the early 1900s, Jews established themselves in retail trades throughout the Bible Belt. The ease with which they fit into the Christian societies in which they found themselves varied. For some individuals, assimilation and intermarriage followed; for others, preservation of ancient traditions and rituals was paramount. Not infrequently, instances of violent anti- Semitism occurred with the acquiescence of the gentile community and the local government - a phenomenon epitomized by the horrific lynching of Leo Frank in 1915.

By ADLís measure, incidents of anti-Semitism in the South appear to have declined during the past five years. According to ADLís annual Audits, occurrences of vandalism, threats, harassment, and intimidation have decreased approximately 30 percent from 1995 to 1999 in the 12 states comprising the Southern Area (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia). Nevertheless, in 1999 the South experienced several phone threats to Jewish institutions, synagogue vandalism and a serious cemetery desecration.

But numbers alone do not provide a complete picture of the incidents and the impact on the victims and the communities involved. During the 20 years in which ADL has published the Audit, the severity of the incidents in a given year varies across a spectrum - from the seemingly benign yet upsetting anti-Semitic utterance to physical brutality against a Jewish individual or destruction of an edifice. In 1999, two incidents stand out as especially outrageous and distressing; together they prove that anti-Semitism is a constant and that words alone can prove an effective weapon in the hands of anti-Semites.

On Good Friday, April 2, 1999, in Corpus Christi, TX, an advertisement in the local newspaper reinvigorated the long-repudiated deicide charge against the Jewish people in time for the Easter holiday. Titled "The Fifteen Secret Tortures of Our Lord Jesus Christ," the ad included this text:

The Jews considered me as the most wretched man living on earth so that is why:

...4. They hanged Me on a wooden piece with a slip-knot until I slipped out and fell down ....

5. They tied Me to a post and pierced My body with various arms.

6. They struck Me with stones and burnt Me with blasting embers and torches ....

7. They crowned me [sic] with an iron crown...

13. They threw Me upon a cross and attached Me so tightly that I could hardly breathe anymore ....

ADL met numerous times over the subsequent week with representatives of the Jewish community and discussed the matter with editors of the newspaper. ADL's intercession ultimately prompted the newspaper to publish an erratum, but without an apology for the incalculable offense and pain experienced by its Jewish readers.

In December 1999, a 77-year-old man was arrested for phoning in a series of 15 bomb threats to synagogues in Broward County FL, and to the 911 emergency operator over a five-month period. Charged with 13 felony counts, the former shoemaker explained that he has a "deep-seated hatred of Jewish people" and, now that he is retired, has more time on his hands. ADL, working cooperatively with law enforcement, had sent a mailing to area synagogues instructing them to place tape recorders on their phone lines. The calls were particularly alarming in the aftermath of violent shootings of Jewish individuals in Los Angeles and Chicago over the summer.

The beginning of a new millennium presents ADL with yet another opportunity to meet a familiar challenge: to oppose vigorously and steadfastly anti-Semitism in its many guises. It is a task for which we are historically and institutionally well suited.

 


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