Despite ‘Knockouts,’ Anti-Semitism Down

Overall numbers follow long trend, but rise in city assaults ‘disturbing.’

04/01/14
Staff Writer
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The Anti-Defamation League this week reported that anti-Semitic incidents are continuing a decade-long decrease.

According to the ADL’s “Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents,” a total of 751 incidents — including assault, vandalism and harassment — that targeted Jews and Jewish property were reported in 2013 to the ADL or law enforcement officials. That figure is a 19 percent drop from the 2012 total of 927. The intensity of anti-Semitic acts has also declined, according to the study.

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in New York State similarly fell during the same period, by 18 percent, from 248 to 203, according to the study.

“The falling number of incidents targeting Jews is another indication of just how far we have come in finding full acceptance in society, and it is a reflection of how much progress our country has made in shunning bigotry and hatred,” said Abraham Foxman, ADL’s national director, in a news release.

The total decrease in reported incidents took place despite the spate of so-called knockout attacks that began last year in several U.S. urban areas, most notably New York City, against mostly Jewish targets. In this so-called “knockout game,” perpetrators post videos of their attacks online, which the ADL believes fuels further assaults.

The latest assault came on March 25 when a 65-year-old Orthodox man from England was attacked after leaving a wedding reception on the outskirts of Borough Park in Brooklyn. The victim was grabbed by the head, his face smashed into the pavement; he was treated in the hospital for a busted lip and chipped tooth.

Of 22 anti-Semitic assaults reported in New York City last year, seven by categorized by the ADL study as knockout attacks.

Evan R. Bernstein, ADL’s New York regional director, said in the release that the increase in anti-Semitic assaults in New York City and Brooklyn in particular is “both disturbing and a sobering reminder that anti-Semitism is not just history but remains a current event.”

Gregg Mashberg, ADL New York’s regional board chair, said in the release that while the knockout attacks were “deeply troubling, particularly because visibly identifiable Jews were among the primary targets” the “vigorous response by law enforcement and the community to stop and address these attacks was commendable.”

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in regions of Greater New York in 2013 were as follows: Brooklyn, 64; Manhattan, 43, Queens, 13, Bronx, 5; Staten Island, 8; Nassau County, 26; Suffolk County, 26; Westchester, Rockland County and Upstate, 8.

The ADL said one reason for the national decrease last year was — despite the rise in BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) activity — “a relatively quiet year for anti-Israel activity in the public sphere” compared with previous years when “military conflicts involving Israel … spurred hundreds of demonstrations in major cities across the U.S. that sometimes featured blatantly anti-Semitic slogans, signs and rhetoric.”

steve@jewishweek.org

Last Update:

04/02/2014 - 11:31

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