Acts of anti-Semitism reported throughout the United States in 2011 were at their lowest in two decades, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents.
The audit, released last week, shows a decline of 13% over the previous year with a total of 1,080 incidents reported, compared to 1,239 in 2010.
“It is encouraging that over the past five or six years we have seen a consistent decline in the number of anti-Semitic incidents across the country and that the numbers are now at a historic low,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director.
“To the extent that these incidents serve as a barometer, the decline shows that we have made progress as a society in confronting anti-Semitism and pushing it to the far fringes, making expressions of anti-Jewish hatred unacceptable.
"These declining numbers, while promising, must nevertheless be viewed in the context of other factors, including online expressions of anti-Semitism that are impossible to quantify and often go unchecked.”
Not surprisingly, the number of anti-Semitic incidents reported was higher in states with larger Jewish populations.
The top four states with reported incidents were California with 235; New York, with 195 incidents New Jersey, with 144 incidents in 2011, and Florida, with 111 incidents in 2011.
According to the audit, anti-Semitic incidents increased in Massachusetts and Connecticut, but decreased in other New England areas and nationwide.
Hate incidents aimed at Jewish people in Massachusetts increased from 64 in 2010 to 72 in 2011. In Connecticut, incidents increased from 38 to 43.
ADL's New England Regional Director Derrek Shulman said the Internet ‘‘has breathed new life’’ into destructive stereotypes about Jews.
Nationally, many reported incidents involved bullying at schools.
But ADL found hate incidents dropped in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, also posting a 9.5% national decline.
The organization uses crime statistics, and information from victims, law-enforcement officials and community leaders for the audit.
It identifies acts of harassment and intimidation, including threats, slurs and hate propaganda distribution.
Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life