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

Vandalism Incidents

Acts of anti-Semitic vandalism decreased in 1999 after a 6 percent increase in 1998. ADL recorded a total of 679 incidents of vandalism in 1999, compared to 715 in 1998, a decrease of 5 percent. Acts of vandalism accounted for 44 percent of the total of 1,547 incidents in 1999.

Anti-Semitic incidents of vandalism include any destruction of property coupled with anti-Jewish messages or evidence of anti-Semitic intent. This encompasses any defacement of synagogues or other Jewish institutions, whether it be with graffiti, smashing windows or, in more serious instances, arson. Vandals also acted against privately owned Jewish property by marking swastikas and anti-Semitic messages on doors and lawns or by scratching them into cars. About half of the incidents in this category are public acts of anti-Semitic vandalism, including swastikas and anti Jewish graffiti on sides of buildings, on street signs and in schools.

New York, the state with the largest Jewish population, once again recorded the highest number of anti-Semitic acts of vandalism of any state. There were 202 such incidents in 1999 (106 of which occurred in the five boroughs of New York City). This marks a 14 percent increase from 1998, when there were 177 incidents of vandalism.

New Jersey registered the second highest number of anti-Semitic incidents of vandalism with 136, a decrease of 18 percent from 166 such acts last year. California had 109, up from the total of 81 from 1998. Massachusetts recorded 36, up from 33 in 1998; Pennsylvania had 28, which is the same figure as in 1998.

Vandalism: A Look at Some Noteworthy Incidents

While most of the incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism consisted of graffiti and light property damage, there were instances of more dangerous and damaging acts of destruction. In 1999, there were seven acts of arson and two arson attempts. In addition, there were three bomb threats, and one bombing attempt.

  • On February 11, suspects forced their way into a Stafford Township, NJ, residence, poured several gallons of kerosene on the floor, walls and furniture, and wrote anti-Semitic graffiti on the walls.
  • On August 15, Temple Beth Chai, in Hauppauge, NY, was firebombed. No one was injured, and the blaze was contained by firefighters shortly after they responded to the alarm at 3 a.m.
  • On September 7, vandals overturned 24 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in Inskster, MI. Several headstones were damaged in the 84-year-old burial ground.
  • On September 14, an elderly woman's car was vandalized by anti-Semitic graffiti, and then set on fire, while parked in front of The Corey Colonial Condominiums, in Agawam, MA.
  • On November 30, a molotov cocktail was thrown at a window of a temple in Reno, NV Area skinheads have been charged with the crime.


Jewish cemeteries continued to be a target of opportunity for anti-Semitic vandals, in part due to the fact that they cover large areas of land that are difficult to secure effectively. The number of Jewish cemetery desecrations increased to 12 in 1999, up from eight in 1998. Four such incidents occurred in Connecticut, two in New Jersey, two in Texas, while others occurred in New York, Michigan, North Carolina and Washington.

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