Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States fell by 14 percent in 2012, according to the Anti-Defamation League, with 927 cases, down from 1,080 in 2011. College campuses, however, experienced an anti-Semitic surge, with 61 cases reported, almost three times the 22 incidents in 2011. New York State also bucked the national trend, with 248 cases, up from 195 the year before.
Only 17 of the 927 national cases featured an actual physical assault, down from 19 the year before, reported the ADL’s annual “Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents,” released this week. The rest of the cases involved harassment, bullying or threats (470 cases) or vandalism (440 cases).
The overall decline in anti-Semitic cases in recent years has been “encouraging,” said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman in a statement accompanying the audit, evidence “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.”
Online anti-Semitism, which is harder to quantify, remained a problem, said Barry Curtiss-Lusher, the ADL’s national chair. He said there is a danger that online incitement “can inspire and fuel real-world violence.”
“While we cannot point to any single explanation for the fluctuations from year to year, the declines of the past several years occur within the context of the continued proliferation of hatred online,” he continued. “Unlike years ago, when racists handed out pamphlets on street corners or sent them through the mail, the Internet provides racists and bigots with an outlet to reach a potential audience of millions.”
According to the audit, anti-Israel criticism was not counted as anti-Semitism unless the criticism contained messages or imagery demonizing Jews, creating “an atmosphere of fear or intimidation.”