Florida: Anti-Semitic Incidents Decline in 2007
Boca Raton, FL, March 5, 2008 ... The number of anti-Semitic incidents in Florida declined 29 percent in 2007, according to the Anti-Defamation League's annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents. This is the second consecutive decline in Florida and third consecutive decline nationwide.
ADL's Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents reported a total of 127 anti-Semitic incidents in Florida, down from 179 incidents in 2006; and 1,357 anti-Semitic incidents in the United States in 2007, down 10 percent from 1,554 incidents reported in 2006 across the country. Florida also continued to rank as the fourth state in the nation with the highest number of reported anti-Semitic incidents.
The Audit comprises data from across Florida, including information provided to ADL's Florida Office by victims, law enforcement and community leaders. The Audit identifies both criminal acts, such as vandalism, violence and threats of violence, and non-criminal incidents of harassment and intimidation.
According to the Florida Audit, there were 99 anti-Semitic incidents of harassment, including physical or verbal assaults directed at individuals or institutions; and 28 anti-Semitic incidents of vandalism such as property damage or anti-Semitic graffiti.
The two predominant trends of anti-Semitism detected in ADL's 2007 Audit in Florida include the presence of swastikas in many incidents, as well as anti-Semitic incidents in public schools and college campuses.
"The good news is that incidents of anti-Semitism in Florida seem to be declining. The bad news is that anti-Semitism is still embedded in our society and that is unacceptable," said Andrew Rosenkranz, ADL Florida Regional Director.
According to the ADL Audit, 14 percent of the anti-Semitic incidents reported to the ADL in Florida involved swastikas, which seems to remain the symbol of choice for anti-Semites. The Nazi symbol, one of the most powerful and enduring emblems of religious and ethnic hatred, serves as a chilling reminder of the Holocaust and evokes horrifying memories of what can happen when hate and anti-Semitism run rampant.
Swastikas: Selected Incidents in Florida in 2007
- Boca Raton: Swastikas and the letters KKK were found in a condominium elevator. (January)
- Pembroke Pines: Swastikas were painted on the walls of a club house in a gated community. (January)
- Jensen Beach: Two swastikas were drawn on a private home. (February)
- Palm Beach County: A large swastika and the word "Jew" were painted on an individual's car. (March)
- Boca Raton: A swastika and the word Kike were drawn on a synagogue. (August)
- Sarasota: A large swastika was painted on the road with the initials WP (White Pride) and a Klan symbol. Swastikas were also painted on several mailboxes in the same neighborhood. (Sept.)
Anti-Jewish Harassment in Schools
Based on incidents reported to and investigated by ADL, 13 percent of the anti-Semitic incidents included in the Audit took place in public schools and 10 percent occurred on college campuses throughout Florida. These incidents, directed at both students and teachers, manifested themselves through hateful graffiti, name-calling, slurs, mockery, bullying and threats.
"It's unfortunate to see so many of our youth victimized by anti-Semitism at such a young age," said Barry S. Berg, ADL Florida Regional Chair. "The Anti-Defamation League provides support to these young victims, their families and their schools and also offers effective workshops and resources to the schools and college campuses to help reduce anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred and racism," he continued.
Public Schools: Selected Incidents in 2007
- Gulfport: Jewish teacher found swastikas and "Jews will die soon" and "Jews will die 10/25/07" on one of the papers collected from students in his class. (October)
- Boca Raton: A high school senior was removed from school for threatening to kill all of the Jewish students at the school on April 20th, the anniversary of Hitler's birthday. (April)
- Tampa: Several swastikas were scratched onto bathroom walls of a high school. (March)
- Vero Beach: A swastika was drawn on a Jewish student's locker. (May)
- Alachua County: A high school teacher said "The only way to get rid of the Jews in the world is to do what Hitler did. The rest of the world hates us because of the Jews." (March)
- Volusia County: A swastika and the word Jew were written on a piece of paper and placed in a student's locker at a public school. (October)
College Campuses: Selected Incidents in 2007
- Miami: A student's mezuzah posted on the door of her dorm room was ripped off of her door twice in one month. (March)
- Orlando: A student's car was painted with a swastika. (March)
Miami: The words "Jews kill children" were found in a college bathroom. (January)
- Tampa: A Jewish student was harassed by other students through anti-Semitic slurs on a student web site. (July)
About the ADL Audit
The Audit is evaluated by ADL's professional staff and provides an annual snapshot of a nationwide problem. The Audit also identifies 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.