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Anti-Semitism in the United States: ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents in 2012

(Updated July 2013)

The Anti-Defamation League's annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents recorded 927 anti-Semitic incidents across the United States in 2012, a 14% decrease from the 2011 figure of 1,080 and a 25% decline from the 1,239 incidents in 2010.

The 2012 incidents included:

  • 17 physical assaults on Jewish individuals (down from 19 in 2011; 22 in 2010)
  • 470 cases of anti-Semitic harassment, threats and events (down from 731 in 2011; 900 in 2010)
  • 440 cases of anti-Semitic vandalism (up from 330 in 2011; 317 in 2010)

“It is encouraging that in the past few years we have seen a fairly consistent decline in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “While these numbers only provide one snapshot of anti-Semitism in America, to the extent that they serve as a barometer the decline shows that we have made progress as a society in confronting anti-Jewish hatred.  Still, it is disturbing that there are so many incidents in America, and we must remain vigilant in responding to them and in encouraging law enforcement and the public to report these incidents as much as possible.”

Despite the overall decline in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2012, the complete picture is more complex. For even as anti-Semitic harassment, threats and events declined – to 470 incidents in 2012, from 731 in 2011 – other categories remained at a similar level or increased substantially.

According to the ADL Audit, the most dramatic increase was reported in the anti-Semitic vandalism category, which experienced a 33 percent increase – with a total of 440 incidents reported in 2012, compared with 330 in 2011. While the majority of those incidents took place on public property or individual homes, Jewish institutions were targeted in 13 percent of the total vandalism incidents.

Moreover, physical assaults – often among the most disturbing anti-Semitic incidents because they involve person-on-person violence – remained at a similar level, with 17 incidents in 2012, compared with 19 incidents in 2011.

Continuing a consistent trend for many years, the states with the highest totals were those with large Jewish populations:

  • New York, with 248 incidents in 2012, up from 195 in 2011;
  • California, with 185 incidents, down from 235;
  • New Jersey, with 173 incidents, up from 144;
  • Florida, with 88 incidents, down from 111;
  • Massachusetts, with 38 incidents, down from 72.
  • Pennsylvania, with 37 incidents, down from 38.

Sources: Anti-Defamation League