While national numbers of anti-Semitic incidents decreased, Pennsylvania marked a slight rise in attacks on Jews.
At least 45 anti-Semitic incidents occurred in Pennsylvania in 2013, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s annual audit of Anti-Semitic incidents.
The report, released on April 1, identified and broke down the 45 incidents into: 31 cases of harassment, 13 of vandalism and one physical assault — a slight rise from 2012 during which 38 overall incidents were reported.
“While we were spared a major tragedy this year, this does not minimize the incidents that were reported to our office,” said Nancy K. Baron-Baer, ADL’s interim regional director. “Anti-Semitism is vile, rankles the conscience and has no place in civil society. We encourage the community to remain vigilant and bring incidents of anti-Semitism to our attention when they occur.”
Pennsylvania’s increase in incidents, while worrying, did not reflect the number of incidents that occurred nationally over the last year, where there was a 19 percent decrease in overall attacks of any kind against Jews.
However, the national numbers did reveal a spike in the sub-category of violent assaults — 31 such incidents were reported in 2013, as opposed to 17 physical attacks reported in 2012.
“We should not minimize the fact that our region reported one anti-Semitic assault,” said Baron-Baer. “This assault, combined with the number of violent in-your-face assaults across our country, is a sobering reminder that, despite the overall decline in anti-Semitic incidents, there is still a subset of Americans who are deeply infected with anti-Semitism and who feel emboldened enough to act out their bigotry.”
Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the ADL, took a slightly more optimisitic approach to the report by saying, "“The falling number of incidents targeting Jews is another indication of just how far we have come in finding full acceptance in society."
Though the number of local anti-Semitic incidents so far in 2014 are not currently available, one of the more recent occurrences was the spray-painting of a Swastika on the pavement near the Holocaust Memorial at the intersection of 17th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
That incident was reported to the ADL on March 12 and the Nazi symbol was quickly removed by police who were investigating the crime.
To watch an ADL video rallying against anti-Semitism, click the video icon on the top right of the screen.