Illinois: Anti-Semitic Incidents Nearly Double in 2006
Chicago, IL, March 14, 2007 ... Anti-Semitic incidents in Illinois nearly doubled in 2006 but declined nationally for a second consecutive year, according to newly issues statistics from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which tracks incidents against Jewish individuals, synagogues and community institutions. The League's annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, issued today, counted a total of 56 incidents in Illinois, up from 30 last year. Nationally, anti-Semitic incidents declined to 1,554 in 2006, a 12 percent decrease from the 1.757 recorded in 2005.
"There is a greater willingness on the part of some in Illinois to express and to act upon anti-Semitic sentiments" said Lonnie Nasatir, Regional Director of ADL's Greater Chicago Office. "We are particularly troubled by the rise in incidents in schools and on university campuses and in incidents of Internet harassment."
Of the 2006 incidents in Illinois, 16 involved a college or high school. Many incidents of harassment can also be linked directly to the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict. The Internet has also become an increasingly popular vehicle for anti-Semitic harassment and threats.
Among the more troubling incidents in 2006:
• Chicago: Swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti were painted on the windows of a synagogue (February).
• Lisle: Swastika painted on car at Lisle Junior High School (February).
• Evanston: Northwestern Professor Arthur Butz wrote a column in The Daily Northwestern denying the Holocaust and expressed support for the Holocaust denial activities of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (February).
• Chicago: Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan made anti-Semitic and homophobic remarks at the annual Saviours' Day event (February).
• Hinsdale: Swastikas and anti-Semitic messages painted on football field at Hinsdale Central High School (February).
• Chicago: Several building at DePaul University defaced with anti-Semitic and racist graffiti (March).
•Champaign: Hillel building at the University of Illinois vandalized and Hillel staff subject to anti-Semitic harassment (April, May).
• Evanston: Synagogue sign defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti (May).
•Chicago: Jewish man received phone messages telling him he God should punish him and he should go to hell for killing Lebanese children (July).
• Chicago: ADL offices received several anti-Semitic messages referencing the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict. One caller expressed support for Hezbollah and said, "The only bad thing Hitler did is he didn't kill all you devil (expletive)."
•Northbrook: Swastikas painted on garages and for-sale signs of nine homes (July).
•Rockford: Swastika painted on front door of home (October).
•Springfield: State Journal-Register Web site receives numerous anti-Semitic comments after running op-ed examining anti-Israel activity (December).
"These incidents reflect a variety of motivations, including traditional anti-Semitic prejudice and the willingness of extremists to traffic in anti-Jewish hate," said Mr. Nasatir. "However, a growing trend is the tendency of some individuals to act on their hatred of Israel by engaging in anti-Semitism against the American Jewish community."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.