More than 1/3 of all incidents are school-based
Special to the Ledger
HAMDEN – The number of documented antisemitic incidents in Connecticut increased once again in 2011, according to the
Anti-Defamation League’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents. A total of 43 incidents were reported across Connecticut in 2011, up from 38 in 2010 and 24 in 2009. The audit reported 27 incidents of harassment, 14 incidents of vandalism and two incidents of assault in 2011. The state ranks sixth in the nation in antisemitic incidents.
Antisemitic incidents also increased in Massachusetts, but decreased in other New England states as well as nationwide. The audit shows hate incidents aimed at Jews in Massachusetts increased from 64 in 2010 to 72 in 2011. But ADL found hate incidents dropped in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
“We are concerned that reported antisemitic incidents remain at such a high level, and that the number has increased so significantly over the last two years,” said Gary Jones, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Connecticut office. Jones also noted that hate crime figures released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation consistently show religion to be a primary motivation for the commission of hate crimes, second only to race, with Jews being far and away the most frequently targeted religious group.
The annual ADL Audit encompasses criminal acts, such as vandalism, violence and threats of violence, as well as noncriminal incidents of harassment and intimidation, including distribution of hate propaganda, threats and slurs. The Audit has never included the thousands of antisemitic events and expressions occurring in cyberspace, as it is virtually impossible to quantify.
Compiled using official hate crime statistics, as well as information provided to and evaluated by ADL’s professional staff by victims, law enforcement officers and community leaders, the Audit provides an annual snapshot of a nationwide problem while identifying possible trends or changes in the types of activity reported. The Audit is based only on those incidents that are reported to ADL, which likely represent only a small fraction of the actual antisemitic incidents that take place.
According to the ADL Audit, school-based antisemitism continued to be a driving force behind antisemitic incidents in Connecticut in 2011, with more than one third of all incidents reported to ADL’s Connecticut office taking place amongst students. ADL observed several incidents involving children as young as fourth and fifth grade.
“We are particularly troubled at the continued persistence of school-based incidents of antisemitism and specifically the increasingly young age at which antisemitism manifests itself in our schools,” said Jones. “In light of these ongoing trends, educational initiatives such as ADL’s anti-bias programs continue to be of the utmost importance in the effort to combat antisemitism and other forms of bigotry throughout the state.
Some of the incidents in 2011 in Connecticut included:
— A Jewish boy walking home from Sukkot services in West Hartford was punched in the back by someone who yelled, “You Jewish bitch.”
— A student in Manchester made a comment to a Jewish student about Jews having big noses and then said, “I could make your life a living Holocaust.”
— An apartment in New Britain owned by a Jewish man was vandalized by evicted tenants, including a picture of Hitler drawn on the wall, a swastika carved onto the wall, and paper stuck to a window frame with a knife reading “F— you Jew bastard” as well as an envelope with “Jew bitch” written on it.”
— A swastika was spray-painted onto the walkway of a Westport synagogue.
More information on the 2011 Audit, including state-by-state numbers, an analysis of antisemitic incidents nationally and examples of incidents from around the country, is available on ADL’s website at adl.org.