ADL Audit: Anti-Semitic Incidents in U.S. Declined in 2001
Americans Reject Conspiracy Theories Blaming Jews for 9/11
New York, NY, April 10, 2002 … Heightened awareness of security, especially in the aftermath of September 11, may have contributed to a decline in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States last year. The Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) 2001 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, issued today, reflected an 11 percent decline in the number of attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions. In 2001, 40 states and the District of Columbia reported 1,432 anti-Semitic incidents, a decrease from the 1,606 incidents reported in 2000.
"It is clear that the American people did not buy into the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that blamed Jews for the September 11 attacks," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "It is always good news when there are fewer anti-Semitic acts. We believe that the decline is partly because of heightened awareness of security issues in Jewish communities. However, we remain deeply concerned that the number of incidents remains well over a thousand. It takes only one act of anti-Semitism to affect an individual and an entire community."
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 the incidents reported.
A total of 877 acts of harassment were reported to ADL, including verbal intimidation, threats and physical assaults. That number was the same as the 877 acts of harassment
reported in 2000. However, there was a substantial decrease in the number of acts of vandalism, including property damage, arson and cemetery desecration reported to ADL. In 2001, 555 acts of vandalism were reported, down from 729. The 2001 figure for vandalism was the lowest reported in 20 years.
"Jewish community institutions have put a high priority on improving security in the past year," said Mr. Foxman. "ADL has been working with Jewish communities across the country and has put a new emphasis on security awareness post-9/11."
The biggest declines in anti-Semitic incidents were reported in New York and California, which together accounted for virtually the entire decrease. In New York, 408 incidents were reported, down from 481 in 2000. In California, 122 incidents were reported, down from 257.
The Targeting of Synagogues
Among the worst anti-Semitic incidents reported was an arson attack on a synagogue in Tacoma, Washington, in September following the terrorist attacks on the United States. The synagogue, which sustained minimal damage in the attack, had been targeted days earlier with anti-Semitic graffiti blaming Jews for the terrorist attacks on the U.S. Police have made no arrests in the case. In other incidents, a synagogue in Des Moines, Iowa was targeted with a bomb threat, and a Jewish cemetery in Greensburg, Pennsylvania was targeted by vandals who overturned and defaced headstones with swastikas.
The Internet continued to play a substantial role in the dissemination of anti-Semitism. Hate literature was transmitted through hundreds of sites on the World Wide Web and through bulletin boards, chat rooms and e-mail messages. While Internet messages are not generally categorized as incidents of hate in the ADL Audit, hate spread electronically continues to be a pervasive problem whose impact is immeasurable. Sites operated by anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers are easily found on the Internet, which provides haters with the ability to reach a potential audience of millions with literature and recruitment materials. In addition to the geographical statistics, a total of 36 anti-Semitic email messages sent to the ADL Webmaster are included in the 2001 totals in the harassment category.
The Numbers By Region
Ranked by region, the East experienced the most anti-Jewish incidents (61 %), followed by the South, West and Midwest:
- Among the 11 states of the East region and the District of Columbia reporting, there were 873 incidents. New York had the most (408, down from 481 in 2000), which includes 238 incidents in New York City, followed by New Jersey (192, down from 213), Massachusetts (126, down from 128), Pennsylvania (61, down from 72), Connecticut (49, up from 32), Maryland (11, up from 6), New Hampshire (7, up from 5), Rhode Island (7, up from 3), the District of Columbia (6, same as last year), Vermont (3, down from 4), Maine (2, same as last year), and Delaware (1, up from 0).
- Among the 12 Southern states, 224 incidents were reported. Florida ranked first, with 115 (up from 81 in 2000), followed by Georgia (34, up from 14), Virginia (25, up from 15), Texas (20, down from 40), Louisiana (8, up from 6), North Carolina (6, down from 19), Tennessee (6, up from 2), Arkansas (5, up from 1), Mississippi (3, up from 1), Oklahoma (1, same as last year), South Carolina (1, same as last year), and Alabama (0, down from 1).
- Among the 13 Western states, 177 incidents were reported. California had the most, with 122 (down from 257 in 2000), followed by Colorado (26, up from 13), Arizona (10, up from 5), Washington (7, up from 3), New Mexico (5, down from 8), Nevada (4, up from 3), Oregon (2, up from 0), Idaho (1, up from 0), Hawaii (0, down from 1), Montana (0, down from 1), Utah (0, down from 1), and Wyoming (0, down form 1). No incidents were reported in Alaska in 2001 or 2000.
- Among the 14 states of the Midwest region, 122 incidents were reported. Illinois reported the most, with 31 (down from 41 in 2000), followed by Michigan (20, down from 22), Minnesota (18, down from 32), Ohio (18, down from 44), Wisconsin (12, down from 16), Missouri (8, down from 9), Iowa (4, up from 3), Indiana (4, up from 3), Nebraska (4, up from 3), Kansas (3, down from 4), Kentucky (0, down from 1), and North Dakota (0, down from 1). No incidents were reported in West Virginia or South Dakota in 2001 or 2000.
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.
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.