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Anti-Semitic Incidents Increase in America for the First Time Since 2004

“The audit tracks assaults, vandalism and harassment..."

Anti-Semitism is, unfortunately, still alive and well here in America. According to the Anti-Defamation League’s "Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents," the number of anti-Jewish incidents in the United States increased last year for the first time since 2004.

According to the Jewish Forward, “The audit tracks assaults, vandalism and harassment reported during the calendar year in 45 states and the District of Columbia.” Studying these issues provides insight on the discrimination that this particular group faces in modern-day society.

This most recent ADL audit shows that there were 1,239 reported incidents in 2010, which is up slightly from the 1,211 that were reported in 2009. The current report claims that there were 22 physical assaults, 900 instances of harassment and 317 cases of vandalism last year.

According to a press release, “Continuing a longtime trend, the states with the highest totals were those with large Jewish populations.” Thus, California (297), New York (205) and New Jersey (130) led in terms of the highest number of incidents.

Of course, it’s important to note that the aforementioned numbers only include the incidents that were reported. It’s possible that there were many more crimes that simply went unreported.

While these numbers are certainly concerning, it was back in 2004 that the record high -- 1,821 incidents -- was reached. Even considering the current rise, the 2010 number is much lower.

In speaking about the numbers Abraham Foxman, national director of the ADL, said:

"While we have come a long way in society as Jews have been accepted into the mainstream, America is still not immune to anti-Semitism and bigotry.

The good news is that we have continued to enjoy a period of relative calm, where the overall numbers are mostly unchanged and the incidents isolated. But the bad news is that for all our efforts to educate, to raise awareness and to legislate, anti-Jewish incidents remain a disturbing part of the American Jewish experience.”

Considering the ongoing national dialogue about bullying and the like, one fact that is somewhat startling is the idea that some of these incidents are occurring among children. Amanda Susskind, who is the regional director for the Anti-Defamation League’s Los Angeles Office, explains:

“Honestly, one of the things we do see in terms of trends is a lot of, surprising number of incidents happening in schools and even elementary schools. We are kind of surprised about that.”

Certainly, these numbers could be worse. But considering the ongoing issues that are happening across the globe, the increase, although slight, should caution educators and community leaders, alike, to continue monitoring the situation. You can read the entire report here.

One last thing…
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