LOS ANGELES — Anti-Semitic incidents declined sharply across the United States in 2001, the Anti-Defamation League said Wednesday as it released a report covering 40 states and the District of Columbia.
Acts of vandalism targeting Jews and Jewish institutions had the largest decline. California, New York, New Jersey and Texas had the biggest drops in incidents reported to the ADL’s 30 regional offices and law enforcement, said the report by the organization whose programs are designed to counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.
A total of 1,432 anti-Semitic incidents were reported in 2001, compared to 1,606 in 2000. The survey said California had the largest decrease to 122 from the previous year’s 257. In New York there were 408 incidents in 2001, down from 481, New Jersey had 192, a drop from 213 in 2000, and Texas had a decline from 40 to 20.
“It is clear that the American people did not buy into the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that blamed Jews for the September 11 attacks,” said Aaron Levinson, ADL interim regional director in Los Angeles. “We believe that the decline is partly because of heightened awareness of security issues in Jewish communities.”
But the reports of more than 1,400 incidents keeps the ADL “deeply concerned,” Levinson said. “It takes only one act of anti-Semitism to affect an individual and an entire community.”
The most serious incident cited by the ADL during 2001 was an arson fire causing minimal damage at a synagogue in Tacoma, Wash., shortly after Sept. 11, following a graffiti incident at the same location days earlier blaming Jews for the terrorist attacks. No arrests have been made in those incidents.