Massachusetts: Anti-Semitic Incidents Hold Steady in 2006
Boston, MA, March 14, 2007 ... Anti-Semitic incidents in Massachusetts held steady in 2006, with a total of 96 incidents, up from 93 incidents in 2005, according to the Anti-Defamation League's annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents issued today.
Massachusetts was the state with the fifth highest number of incidents in the country. Rabbis, synagogues, and Jewish institutions (including religious schools) were the targets in about 14 percent of the 96 incidents.
"While far from a precision instrument, the Audit is a snapshot that says anti-Semitic acts still happen in our communities. The results indicate that we need to remain committed to eliminating ingrained prejudice," said Andrew H. Tarsy, ADL New England Regional Director.
"This year we noted a particular trend of incidents where Jewish people here were threatened based on events in the Middle East. While thankfully we had nothing in New England like the deadly Seattle shooting, it did become clear that Jewish families and institutions can become targets simply for being Jewish," said Mr. Tarsy.
Mr. Tarsy also noted that, "Every hate incident is a reminder that we have a responsibility to learn and to teach what it takes to build a safe and healthy diverse community. 2006 included many courageous acts by allies of the Jewish community. The interfaith response to vandalism at the Jewish Community Center in Stoughton was one great example. Another key trend is that in the several incidents where anti-Semitic incidents required police attention, police in our region did a great job of responding. Our chiefs and our officers 'get it.' They understand the power of hate. We greatly appreciate their professionalism regarding safety, security and the Jewish community."
Reported Incidents in Massachusetts
The following is a sampling of some of the more troubling incidents recorded in Massachusetts as part of the 2006 Audit.
• Stoughton, MA: Local Jewish Community Center targeted with anti-Semitic graffiti including eleven large swastikas on the outside of the building.
• Salem, MA: Three homes on the same street were vandalized with swastikas. Hate graffiti was also found on street signs, statues, memorials, the town common gazebo and a nearby bridge.
• Pittsfield, MA: The playground at a Jewish day school was vandalized with a swastika and anarchy symbol. The swastika was carved with a knife into the playground's slide.
• Canton, MA: The president of a local synagogue found a handwritten message attached to the door of the Temple, which included the statement that those who did not find Jesus would be damned.
• Sharon, MA: During a lacrosse match between Sharon High School and a rival high school, a member of the rival lacrosse team stated, "Come on kike" to a Sharon High School lacrosse player.
• Newton, MA: A Rabbi from a local congregation received hate mail at his home address, in part imploring Jews to accept Jesus so as not to get left behind at the second coming of the messiah.
• Needham, MA: Local synagogue's Children's Center received hate mail that read, "It's a shame on Israel the leader they're not any different from Hitler. Too bad he didn't finish the job!!! Childrens of Lebanon."
• Wellesley, MA: Local synagogue had its prominent "Support Israel, Support Democracy" banner slashed and knocked off of its poles.
• Brookline, MA: Local synagogue's banner in support of Israel was stolen and "Jews for Justice" picketed the synagogue on Yom Kippur.
• Longmeadow, MA: A private Jewish Day School was vandalized with graffiti reading "F-ck the Jews" and a swastika.
• Wayland, MA: Protestors with signs reading, "We support Hamas and Hezbollah protested a Darfur Genocide awareness raising event at the Synagogue.
About the ADL Audit
The Audit identifies both criminal and non-criminal acts of harassment and intimidation, including distribution of hate propaganda, threats and slurs. Compiled using official crime statistics, as well as information provided to and evaluated by ADL's professional staff by victims, law enforcement officers and community leaders, the Audit provides an annual snapshot of a nationwide problem while identifying possible trends or changes in the types of activity reported. This information assists ADL in developing and enhancing its programs to counter and prevent the spread of anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.
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.