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Anti-Semitism in the United States: ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents in 2006

(Updated Summer 2007)

For the second straight year, the number of anti-Semitic incidents occurring in the United States has declined. In 2006, the total number of anti-Semitic incidents reported to the Anti-Defamation League including acts against both property and persons — was 1,554. This total, comprising reports from 44 states (6 states reported none) and the District of Columbia, represents a decrease of 203 incidents, or 12 percent, from the 2005 total of 1,757. Since the all-time high of 2,066 recorded in 1994, anti-Semitic incidents are down 25 percent.

There was a slight increase in incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism and a substantial decline in acts of harassment in 2006. This decline in harassment incidents accounts for the overall drop in anti-Semitic acts. The 669 incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism occurring in 2006 represent an increase of 52 incidents, or an 8 percent increase. Vandalism incidents comprised 43 percent of all incidents in 2006. In contrast, 885 incidents of harassment occurred, a decline of 255 from 1,140, or 22 percent.

For the sixteenth straight year, acts of anti-Semitic harassment outnumber incidents of vandalism. The 885 incidents of harassment, threat or assault represent 57 percent of the total number of incidents. Of these, 77 incidents were related to extremist group activity, compared to 112 in 2005. This significant decline may be related to factional in-fighting among certain groups and the fact that some groups have refocused their attention on Hispanics due to the prominence of the immigration debate.

Continuing a longtime trend, the states with the most incidents were New York (284, down from 381 in 2005); New Jersey (244, down from 266); California (204, down from 247); Florida (179, down from 199);  Massachusetts (96, up from 93 in 2005; Pennsylvania, (94, down from 95 in 2005); and Connecticut (77, up from 57).

A new challenge to reporting anti-Semitic incidents is the emergence of the Internet as a major tool of organized hate movements. The use of blogs, e-mail, and Web sites to encourage Jew-hatred, Holocaust denial, conspiracy theories about Jewish power, and other forms of racism have had a major impact on the way anti-Semitic propaganda is distributed, especially on college campuses. This kind of anti-Semitic activity cannot be quantified.

Sources: Anti-Defamation League