ADL Audit: Anti-Semitic Incidents Rise Slightly in U.S. in 2000. Increase Linked
to Mideast Conflict
New York, NY, March 21, 2001 ... The resort to violence in the
Middle East following the breakdown of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process may
have contributed to a slight increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents
reported in the United States during the year 2000.
The Anti-Defamation League’s(ADL) annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, issued today, reflects a 4
percent increase in the number of attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions
in the U.S.
The 2000 ADL Audit recorded 1,606 anti-Semitic incidents in
44 states and the District of Columbia, representing a slight increase over the
1,547 incidents reported in 1999.
Vandalism, harassment and other expressions of hatred against Jewish
individuals and property climbed with the renewal of tensions in the Middle
East, reaching a high point in October as the events there spilled over into
nations with large Jewish communities. According to the ADL Audit, there
were 259 anti-Semitic incidents reported in October across the United States,
more than in any other month of the 2000 calendar year.
"When the crisis in the Middle East reached a fever pitch, Jews around
the world and in the United States became targets for random acts of aggression
and violence," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "While
we historically expect an increase in anti-Semitic incidents during the Jewish
High Holy Days period, the statistics this year illustrate a spillover impact
from the escalation of violence and vandalism as the Palestinians renewed their
campaign of violence against Israel. Many random acts of violence or harassment
were acted out by sympathizers of the Palestinian cause. Fortunately this
phenomenon was apparently a unique, one-time occurrence."
The incidents reported in the ADL Audit are gathered using combined
data from the League’s 30 regional offices and law enforcement. As in the
past, harassment and assaults directed at individuals and institutions made up
more than half of all the incidents reported. The Audit categorizes the
incidents as follows:
- 877 acts of harassment, including verbal intimidation, threats and
- 729 acts of vandalism, including property damage, arson and cemetery
A total of 69 anti-Jewish incidents were reported on college campuses
nationwide, a 15 percent increase from 1999 and the reversal of a five-year
"In the 22 years that ADL has been conducting the Audit, we have
seen ups and downs," Mr. Foxman said. "While 2000 saw a slight
increase, we still believe that through education and the diligent work of law
enforcement, these kinds of incidents can decrease in the future."
The targeting of individuals continued to be a concern. Among the
Anti-Semitic incidents reported during the year 2000 were several
life-threatening criminal acts.
In the most violent incident, Richard
Baumhammers allegedly killed a Jewish neighbor in his suburban Pittsburgh
neighborhood and set her house on fire as part of a two-county shooting rampage
on April 29. It was the first murder with an anti-Semitic underpinning since
1994, when Ari Halberstam, a Hasidic youth, was murdered on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Baumhammers, 35, who had allegedly created an anti-immigrant party and who
appeared to target religious and ethnic minorities in his shooting spree, is
accused of killing five people and firing shots into two synagogues during the
violent episode. He allegedly painted a swastika on one of the synagogues
targeted during the rampage.
In the West Rogers Park section of suburban Chicago, a rabbi was targeted by
gunfire on October 12. He escaped injury, although police were unable to
identify the assailant. That same night in the same predominantly Jewish
neighborhood, two men were attacked by a group of Palestinian-Americans in
separate incidents that police say were tied to the Mideast conflict.
The Internet continued to play a substantial role in the dissemination of
anti-Semitic hate literature through hundreds of sites on the World Wide Web and
through bulletin boards, chat rooms and e-mail messages. Attacks against several
Web sites operated by major American Jewish organizations were also reported –
these, too, apparently stemming from the conflict in the Middle East.
The Numbers By Region
Ranked by region, the East experienced the most anti-Jewish incidents (60
percent) followed by the West, Midwest and South.
- Among the 11 states of the East region and the District of Columbia
reporting, there were 952 incidents. New York had the most (481, up from 365
in 1999), followed by New Jersey (213, down from 226), Massachusetts (128,
up from 111), Pennsylvania (72, down from 82), Connecticut (32, down from
79), Maryland (6, down from 17), the District of Columbia (6, down from 17),
New Hampshire (5, down from 6), Vermont (4, up from 1), Rhode Island (3, up
from 2), Maine (2, down from 3), and Delaware (0, down from 3).
- Among the 13 Western states, 293 incidents were reported. California
ranked first, with 257 (down from 275 in 1999), followed by Colorado (13,
same as last year), New Mexico (8, down from 12), Arizona (5, same as last
year), Nevada (3, down from 12), Washington (3, down from 6), Utah (1, down
from 6), Hawaii (1, same as last year), Wyoming (1, up from 0), Montana (1,
up from 0), and Idaho (0, down from 2). No incidents were reported in Alaska
or Oregon in 2000 or 1999.
- Among the 14 states of the Midwest region, 179 incidents were reported.
Ohio had the most, with 44 (up from 22 in 1999), followed by Illinois (41,
up from 31), Minnesota (32, up from 14), Michigan (22, down from 32),
Wisconsin (16, up from 8), Missouri (9, down from 11), Kansas (4, up from
0), Nebraska (3, up from 2), Indiana (3, down from 4), Iowa (3, up from 1),
Kentucky (1, up from 0), North Dakota (1, up from 0), West Virginia (0, down
from 1). No incidents were reported in South Dakota in 2000 or 1999.
- Among the 12 Southern states, 182 incidents were reported. Florida
reported the most 81 (down from 88 in 1999), followed by Texas (40, up from
28), North Carolina (19, same as last year), Virginia (15, down from 18),
Georgia (14, down from 25), Louisiana (6, down from 7), Tennessee (2, same
as last year), Arkansas (1, down from 3), Oklahoma (1, up from 0), South
Carolina (1, up from 0), and Alabama (1, up from 0), Mississippi (1, same as
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 ADL’s
30 regional offices by victims, law enforcement officers and community leaders,
the Audit aims to provide an annual snapshot of a nationwide problem
while identifying possible trends or changes in the types of activity reported.
Prepared annually since 1979 by the Research Department of ADL’s Civil Rights
Division, the Audit includes charts, graphs, photographs and other
EDITORS NOTE: To arrange interviews with ADL experts, contact
the ADL Media Relations Department via e-mail or call (212) 885-7749 .
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.