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Press ReleaseAnti-Semitism: USA
Anti-Semitic Incidents Up 23% in NY State in 2007

New York, NY, March 5, 2008 Anti-Semitic incidents -- including threats, vandalism, harassment and other acts of hatred directed at Jews -- increased dramatically in New York State in 2007, despite declining nationally for the third consecutive year, according to the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) 2007 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, issued today.  New York State continued to rank first in the nation for anti-Semitic incidents, with nearly one in four of them occurring here.

Long Island experienced the most dramatic increase, with 118 reported anti-Semitic incidents, up from 74 in 2006 a 59% increase.  New York City saw 193 anti-Semitic incidents reported in 2007, up from 177 incidents the prior year a 9% increase.

A total of 351 incidents were reported across New York State in 2007, a 23% increase from the previous year.  Of those, 112 were incidents of harassment and 239 were incidents of vandalism.  The Audit identifies both criminal and non-criminal incidents of harassment and intimidation, including distribution of hate literature, threats and slurs.

"It is profoundly disturbing to see such a high number of serious, and at times violent, attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions in one of the world's most diverse cities, particularly since this phenomenon runs counter to the declining national trend," said Joel J. Levy, ADL New York Regional Director.  "It is especially disheartening that there was a tremendous spike in anti-Semitic activity occurring during a two-month period surrounding the Jewish High Holidays.  We hoped our community had started to move past this type of senseless targeting."

The swastika was prevalent in a large number of the incidents reported in 2007.

"Haters often reach for symbols that are most hurtful," said David S. Hershberg, ADL New York Regional Board Chair.  "The swastika, with its association to the Nazi regime and the Holocaust, sends a powerful and offensive message, and remains a favorite choice for anti-Semites."

Campus and school incidents also sharply increased across New York State, with 68 incidents in 2007, compared with 25 in 2006.  The distribution of hate literature or leaflets increased to 14 incidents, from 3 in 2006.

Nationwide, the Audit reported a total of 1,357 incidents of vandalism, harassment and other acts of hate against Jewish individuals, property and community institutions in 2007, marking a 13 percent decline from the 1,554 incidents in 2006.  The 2007 Audit comprises data from 40 states and the District of Columbia, including official crime statistics as well as information provided to ADL's regional offices by victims, law enforcement officers and community leaders.  The Audit identifies criminal acts, such as vandalism, violence and threats of violence, as well as non-criminal incidents of harassment and intimidation, including hate propaganda, leafleting and verbal slurs.

New York: Anti-Semitic Acts by County and Borough

According to the Audit, New York State experienced 111 incidents of harassment, reflecting a decrease from 119 in 2006.  The category of harassment includes verbal intimidation, threats and physical assaults.  Physical assaults decreased, with 14 reported incidents, down from 23 in 2006.

There were 239 incidents of vandalism, up from 165 incidents in 2006.  The majority of incidents consisted of swastikas or other anti-Semitic graffiti on synagogues, schools, and public property.

In the boroughs, Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn saw the largest increase of reported incidents over the previous year, while the number of incidents reported in the Bronx was down slightly.  The number for Staten Island was unchanged.

The following are the total number of anti-Semitic incidents in specific regions:

  • Long Island: 118, up from 74 in 2006
  • Manhattan: 65, up from 56
  • Brooklyn: 70, up from 67
  • Queens: 35, up from 28
  • Bronx: 10, down from 13
  • Staten Island: 13, remaining the same
  • Westchester: 14, up from 13
  • Upstate New York: 26, up from 20

There was a 188% increase in anti-Semitic incidents statewide from September 1 - October 31, 2007, compared with the same period in 2006, with 101 incidents reported in 2007, up from 35 in 2006.

Sampling of Anti-Semitic Incidents in New York State in 2007

  • Four Jewish college students, riding the Q train in Brooklyn and wishing people Happy Chanukah, were attacked by 4-5 assailants.  At least two of the students were punched in the face and a knife was pulled (December 2007).
  • At Columbia University's Teachers College, a swastika was spray-painted on the office door of a Jewish professor.  Next to the swastika, the professor's name was crossed out with an X (October 2007).
  • In Long Island, two Jewish women walking on the street were approached by a man and woman who identified themselves as Nazis, attacked and harassed the women, and fled.  The female attacker was arrested and charged with assault as a hate crime (September 2007).
  • Multiple swastikas and graffiti were smeared on a yeshiva school bus in Brooklyn on the eve of Yom Kippur, with phrases like "F*** Jews" and the "second coming of Hitler" found on the windows (December 2007).
  • 22 swastikas were scrawled in green chalk throughout the Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers, a high school in Lower Manhattan (October 2007).
  • 20 incidents involved swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti marked on public property, such as street signs and subway stations.
  • A Long Island synagogue discovered swastikas on its exterior walls, two broken windows, and a swastika spray-painted in red on the cantor's office door (September 2007).
  • A vandal spray-painted swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans in at least 23 different locations in Brooklyn Heights, including on two synagogues, an apartment building, several homes and cars. In January 2008, the alleged perpetrator, Ivaylo Ivanov, was arrested and charged with a hate crime in connection with all the incidents (September 2007).

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.

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Anti-Semitic Incidents Decline For Third Straight Year In U.S., According To Annual ADL Audit

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2008 Anti-Defamation League