ADL Audit: Pacific Southwest Region Sees Increase in Anti-Semitic Vandalism
Date: July 22, 2013
The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. declined by 14 percent in 2012, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The annual ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents released today reported a total of 927 incidents of assault, vandalism and harassment, compared to 1,080 incidents reported in 2011.
For the first time in three years, California fell from first to second in the nation in the number of anti-Semitic incidents, with 185 reported incidents. Only the State of New York had more reported incidents.
"We are pleased to see a decline in anti-Semitic incidents around the country and happy to relinquish California’s standing as the State with the most overall incidents" said ADL Pacific Southwest Regional Director Amanda Susskind. "Still, as we track crimes and incidents, including assaults, vandalism and harassment, we are troubled by the increasingly insurmountable challenge of monitoring cyberspace, where hate can be anonymous and ubiquitous."
One disturbing trend noted in the Audit is that anti-Semitic vandalism rose 33 percent – from 330 incidents reported in 2011 to 440 in 2012. 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.
Anti-Semitic incidents in ADL's Pacific Southwest Region (serving Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Kern Counties) echoed this trend with vandalism incidents increasing by 12 percent. Many of the vandalism incidents included swastikas, a hate symbol that evokes a particularly emotional response in the Jewish community.
One highly publicized anti-Jewish vandalism crime in 2012 took place when a mother drove her 14-year old daughter and her daughter's two friends, ages 13 and 14, to the Northridge home of one of their classmates. The home belongs to a Holocaust survivor's family. The three juveniles threw toilet paper into the trees and onto the property, wrote the word "Jew" and drew two big swastikas in maple syrup on the victim's walkway, and smeared feces on the homeowner's vehicles.
Statistics consistently show Jews to be the most frequently targeted religious group. According to the 2011 Hate Crime Report released in 2012 by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations, the vast majority of religion motivated crimes – 77 percent – are perpetrated against Jews and Jewish institutions. The 2011 Hate Crime in California report from 2012 by the California Department of Justice indicated crimes against Jews comprised 66 percent of all religion-motivated hate crimes in the State of California in 2011. The FBI's most recent report, Hate Crime Statistics 2011, indicates crimes against Jews comprised 62 percent of religion-motivated hate crimes around the country.
Examples of incidents reported to the ADL Pacific Southwest Region in 2012 include:
- Jewish student's college dorm door in Los Angeles was vandalized with swastikas and "Jew die" (April)
- "F*** Jews" and a swastika was carved into parking lot door at a San Fernando Valley hospital (April)
- Swastikas, the SS symbol and "kill Jews" were etched into a Jewish victim’s vehicle in the West San Fernando Valley (June)
- A newspaper vending machine near a Los Angeles high school had "kill the Jews" written on it (August)
- A Los Angeles synagogue was defaced with a swastika and "F*** Jews" during a period of construction. Approximately 2 weeks later, same suspect in the graffiti incident allegedly made two phone calls to 911 threatening that he had placed two bombs near the synagogue. The bomb squad was called in and the situation was diffused (December)
- Receptionist at Los Angeles synagogue called a "dirty Jew" by an anonymous caller (January)
- A man hurled hateful taunts at a Jewish man wearing a yarmulke, including "Hitler should have killed the Jews" while victim was walking in North Hollywood (July)
- Anonymous voicemail received at a San Fernando Valley synagogue said "A Nazi just walked in the room and you've all been exterminated" (September)
- A Los Angeles continuation high school teacher had a plastic mask painted with a Hitler mustache, a swastika and the word "Hitler" hung from his classroom door (October)
- Riverside county victim received Facebook messages from an acquaintance stating "no one’s killed you yet" and "you'll be dead soon Kike" (June)
- Local Jewish communal organization received email titled "You are being liquidated to preempt any repetition of the 9/11 Zionist treason" and included threatening statements like inviting people to participate in the "ethnic killing of Zionists" (July)
- A Los Angeles City government employee received an email that said "Long live the Fuhrer! There was no Jew genocide. Even if there was, Jews truly deserved it" (August)
- Jewish student attending a local university received a threatening email titled "Burn in an oven mother***ing Jew!" The email included a threat and a picture of a crematorium from the Holocaust with a protruding arm (December)
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.
See national release.
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