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Anti-Semitism Declines Statewide According to ADL 2012 Audit

Anti-Semitism Declines Statewide According to ADL 2012 Audit

Date: July 22, 2013

According to the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents issued today, anti-Semitic incidents declined in the State of Florida by 20 percent between 2012 and 2011.  A total of 88 anti-Semitic incidents of assault, vandalism and harassment were reported to ADL in Florida in 2012, down from 111 anti-Semitic incidents in 2011.

This snapshot of anti-Semitism in Florida parallels the three-year trend of incremental declines experienced nationwide.  In 2012, a total of 927 anti-Semitic incidents across the U.S. were captured in ADL’s Audit, marking a 14 percent decline from the 1,080 incidents reported in 2011.  Florida continues to rank fourth nationwide with the highest amount of reported anti-Semitic incidents, following three other states with large Jewish populations: California, New York and New Jersey. 

“For 100 years, the Anti-Defamation League has been on the frontline of combating all forms of anti-Semitism, and we are encouraged by the decrease in anti-Semitic incidents in Florida for the third consecutive year,” stated Hava Holzhauer, ADL Florida Regional Director. ”However, the fact that such anti-Jewish hatred still exists within our communities is disheartening and unacceptable, and it reinforces the need for greater civility and vigilance.”

The annual ADL Audit has tracked criminal and non-criminal incidents of vandalism, harassment and physical assaults against Jewish individuals, property and community institutions using data reported to the ADL Florida Office and law enforcement statewide since 1979.

For 2012, ADL’s Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents in Florida reported:

  • 64 incidents of anti-Semitic harassment, threats and events (down from 90 incidents in 2011)
  • 22 incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism (up from 20 incidents in 2011)
  • 2 incidents of anti-Semitic assault (up from 1 incident in 2011)

“During our centennial year, we remain resolute in our commitment to eliminate anti-Semitism from our schools, college campuses, workplaces, online and elsewhere to ensure that Jews are not victimized or discriminated against because of their religious beliefs,” stated Steven Daniels, ADL Florida Regional Chair. 

The Audit has never included the daunting number of online anti-Semitic events and expressions that appear on countless and fluid websites and social media outlets, since they are virtually impossible to quantify.  However, ADL does receive and address reports from community members who have seen anti-Semitic content online.  In addition, when a Jewish individual is targeted personally in an online forum and feels threatened, such an incident would be included in the Audit.

Anti-Jewish Vandalism

The ADL Audit in Florida recorded 22 incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism in 2012, up from 20 in 2011.  Vandalism incidents are evaluated by ADL individually and are classified as anti-Semitic based on the presence of anti-Semitic symbols or language; the identity of the perpetrator(s), if known, and the target of the vandalism and its proximity to Jewish homes, communities and institutions.  Swastikas that explicitly target Jewish property or communal institutions were included in the Audit; however, swastikas targeting other minorities or those used out of context simply for shock value were not counted.

The following is a list of selected instances of anti-Semitic vandalism in Florida in 2012:

  • Port St. Lucie: A spree of anti-Semitic vandalism over the course of six weeks targeted at least 13 businesses with anti-Jewish messages, vandalism and fecal matter.  (January)
  • Bushnell: Anti-Semitic desecration of 14 Jewish gravestones at the Florida National Cemetery.  The Jewish gravestones, engraved with Stars of David, were kicked over and uprooted, while no gravestones representing other religions were vandalized.  (March)
  • Hallandale Beach: A swastika was etched onto a Holocaust survivor’s car. (October)
  • Naples: A middle school was vandalized with multiple swastikas and the message “we will burn you piece by piece.”  (October)
  • Miami: A mezuzah was ripped off a Jewish person’s front doorpost. (November)
  • Miami Beach: The words “Jews killed Jesus” were discovered in front of a very prominent Chabad Hanukkah display in an area with high foot traffic. (December)
  • Wellington: A large swastika next to the words “F-ck Kikes” was found spray-painted on Temple Beth Torah’s dumpster. (December)

 Harassment, Threats and Events

 The ADL Audit in Florida recorded 64 cases of anti-Semitic harassment in 2012, down from 90 in 2011.  Incidents included verbal attacks and slurs against Jewish individuals (or individuals perceived to be Jewish); anti-Semitism conveyed in written or electronic communications, including anti-Semitic cyberbullying; and anti-Semitic speeches, picketing or events.

The following is a list of selected instances of anti-Semitic harassment in 2012:

  • Deerfield Beach: A series of anti-Semitic letters appeared at Mozart Café, a kosher restaurant. (January)
  • Pensacola: A synagogue received an anti-Semitic email with disturbing messages. (January)
  • Boca Raton: An elderly man was told by two aides at an assisted living facility that he should “Go back to Nazi Germany, and they will finish you off. We should just drop you and get the hell out of here.” (June)

Anti-Semitic Incidents on Campus

The ADL Audit reported five incidents of anti-Semitism on Florida campuses in 2012, a minimal increase from four incidents reported in 2011.

The following is a list of selected anti-Jewish incidents that took place on Florida campuses in 2012:

  • Boca Raton: A female student stood up in a biology class and went on a rant yelling “white people suck, Jewish people who think this world is theirs which it’s not, I will f---ing kill you at the Holocaust events all over the world.” The student also threatened to kill the professor and hit a male student in the front row before she was removed from the classroom. (March)
  • Gainesville: “F-ck Israel” was spray-painted outside of Norman Lipoff Hall adjacent to the University of Florida Hillel. (April)
  • Miami: The Hillel website at the University of Miami was hacked with a pro-Palestinian logo and face. (July)

Anti-Semitic Bullying Among Children and Teens

ADL also continues to receive a troubling number of complaints about children, adolescents and teenagers engaging in anti-Semitic behavior, both on and off school grounds.  These incidents include physical assaults, threats of violence, and verbal and written taunts promoting anti-Semitic stereotypes or evoking disturbing Holocaust themes. 

Within the anti-Semitic harassment category, following are two selected incidents in 2012 that represent anti-Semitic bullying of children by their peers in Florida:

  • Melbourne:  A 12 year-old was bullied and taunted for months at school for being Jewish, and was repeatedly called a “dirty Jew.”
  • Palm Harbor: A middle student was the target of anti-Semitic bullying at school, constantly being referred to through anti-Jewish derogatory names.

About the ADL Audit

The Audit identifies both criminal and non-criminal acts of harassment and intimidation, including distribution of hate propaganda, threats and slurs.  Compiled using information provided by victims, law enforcement and community leaders and evaluated by ADL’s professional staff, the Audit provides an annual snapshot of one specific aspect of a nationwide problem while identifying possible trends or changes in the types of activity reported. This information assists ADL in developing and enhancing its programs to counter and prevent the spread of anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.


ADL in the News

Sun-Sentinel: Three-year trend shows drop in hateful incidents against Jews
The Miami Herald: Number of anti-Semitic incidents decrease in Florida
Palm Beach Post: Anti-Semitic incidentsdrop in Florida
Jewish Journal: ADL releases Florida report
Sarasota Herald Tribune: Anti-Semitic Incidents Drop in Florida
ABC-25 (Palm Beach): ADL: Anti-Semitic attacks in Florida down but still prevalent
GTN News (CBS/NBC-Gainesville): Anti-Semitism Down in Florida
NPR-N. Florida/WFSU: Anti-Defamation League Audit Shows 20% Drop In Anti-SemiticCrimes In Fla.
WQCS – NPR for the Treasure Coast
WLRN – NPR for South Florida
NBC-5 (Palm Beach)
FOX-29 (Palm Beach)

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