For the fourth consecutive year, the number of anti-Semitic incidents occurring in the United States has declined. In 2007, the total number of anti-Semitic incidents recorded was 1,460. In 2008, the total number of recorded incidents declined by approximately 7% with 1,352 incidents.
Incidents occurred in 44 states and the District of Columbia and included 37 assaults on Jewish individuals, 702 cases of anti-Semitic vandalism, and 613 cases of anti-Semitic harassment and/or events. They included acts against high-profile Jewish community institutions and communal properties, such as the repeated vandalism of the San Francisco Holocaust Memorial, and the desecration of dozens of graves at a Jewish cemetery in Chicago with swastikas and hate group symbols. The 2007 Audit combined some physical assaults and incidents of harassment into a single category called "Harassment," and recorded 761 incidents. Together, those two categories in 2008 added up to 650 incidents: a decline of approximately 17%.
Incidents tended to coincide with locations containing significant Jewish populations. The states with the most incidents were New Jersey (238 incidents, 18% of total); California (226 incidents, 17% of total); New York (207 incidents, 15% of total); Florida (122 incidents, 9% of total); Pennsylvania, (97 incidents, 7% of total); Massachusetts (52 incidents, 4% of total); and Connecticut (38 incidents, 3% of total).
According to Anti-Defamation League National Director, Abraham H. Foxman, "In 2008, the financial crisis brought about an increase in rhetoric targeting Jews, with letters in newspapers and on Web sites blaming Jews for the misdeeds of a select few, with Bernard Madoff topping the list.... Hate groups and anti-Semites used the global economic downturn to breathe new life into old myths of greedy and money-hungry American Jews, and these took on a life of their own on the Internet and in the real world."
Sources: Anti-Defamation League