10 Anti-Semitic Incidents Reported In Colorado
Denver, CO, March 30, 2015 … The total number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States increased by 21 percent in 2014 in a year marked by a violent anti-Semitic shooting attack targeting Jewish community buildings in Kansas and anti-Jewish expressions linked to the war in Gaza.
The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, issued today, counted a total of 912 anti-Semitic incidents across the U.S. during the 2014 calendar year. This represents a 21 percent increase from the 751 incidents reported during the same period in 2013, and is the first time in nearly a decade of declines where the overall number of incidents has substantially risen.
ADL’s Mountain States Region, consisting of Colorado and Wyoming, experienced a modest increase in anti-Semitic incidents from 9 in 2013 to 10, including one assault, in 2014. Incidents occurring in 2014 in Colorado that were reported to ADL included:
- Hate literature distribution: flyers were placed in mailboxes in the Five Points neighborhood of Denver, which read in part “…theres [sic] no room for n******or jews in this area.” (April)
- A Colorado synagogue rabbi received a voice mail message on his personal cell phone delivered in a sing-song voice: “Killing all the Jews, killing Jews in twos. Rounding them up and gassing in the gas chambers. Killing all the Jews. Killing them in twos.” (June)
- An Orthodox Jewish woman was with her children in the parking lot of a local supermarket when a man drove up in his car, leaned out his window, yelled “dirty Jew” and drove away. (July)
- The Moroccan Ghosts, a politically motivated hacker group that targets the websites of Jewish institutions in the United States, defaced the website of a synagogue. (April)
- A young man wearing a yarmulke was assaulted in a bar by a man who told him to take off his head covering and when he refused, hit him over the head with a bar glass, requiring hospitalization and stitches. (December)
ADL Mountain States Board Chair Neil Oberfeld and Mountain States Regional Director Scott L. Levin issued the following statement:
While the Mountain States Region continues to experience a low number of anti-Semitic incidents, 10 incidents is not insignificant, especially for those who were directly impacted. Moreover, any incident is one too many. The increase in anti-Semitism across the country is very troubling, particularly the rash of anti-Semitic actions that followed Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s effort to stop the indiscriminate firing of thousands of rockets by Hamas at civilians in Israel and subsequent destruction by the Israeli Defense Forces of terror tunnels leading from Gaza into Israel. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their homes, houses of worship and communities. ADL’s mandate remains clear and we will continue to work tirelessly on our mission to ‘stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.’”
Despite the increase in incidents across the nation, the total number of anti-Semitic acts still represents one of the lowest totals of anti-Semitic acts reported by ADL since it started keeping records in 1979. Still, the Audit has also identified new trends in anti-Semitic incidents, including the phenomenon of hacking attacks on community and synagogue websites by overseas hackers, which multiplied in 2014.
While the overall number of anti-Semitic incidents remains lower than we have seen historically, the fact remains that 2014 was a particularly violent year for Jews both overseas and in the United States,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “The fatal shootings in Overland Park, Kansas at Jewish community centers by a white supremacist whose goal was to “kill Jews” and other violent episodes were tragic reminders that lethal anti-Semitism continues to pose a threat to American Jews and larger society as well.”
The 2014 calendar year was marked by several violent episodes – most notably, the shooting attack at two Jewish institutional buildings in Overland Park, Kansas carried out by a white supremacist who admitted in a jailhouse interview that he wanted to target and kill Jews. It was the first time a Jewish institution has been singled out by a lone-wolf-style gunman since the 2009 shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
The ADL Audit cited a marked increase in anti-Semitic incidents during the 50 days of conflict between Hamas and Israel beginning with air raids on July 7 and into the subsequent ground invasion in Gaza to root out Hamas rockets and tunnels. Anti-Semitism manifested on the fringe of anti-Israel movements during and after Israel’s Operation Protective Edge as Jewish individuals and institutions became the targets of anti-Semitic rhetoric and acts of vandalism.
The annual ADL Audit encompasses incidents of assault, vandalism and harassment targeting Jews and Jewish property and institutions and includes both criminal and non-criminal incidents reported to ADL’s 27 regional offices across the country and to law enforcement.
In 2014, anti-Semitic incidents were reported in a total of 38 states and the District of Columbia. Those incidents are categorized in the ADL Audit as follows:
- Assaults: 36 incidents in 2014, compared with 31 in 2013;
- Vandalism: 363 incidents in 2014, compared with 315 in 2013;
- Harassment, threats and events: 513 incidents in 2014, compared with 405 in 2013.
The reported increase in U.S. anti-Semitic incidents coincided with a huge upsurge in anti-Semitic attacks in Europe and elsewhere around the globe,” said Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair. “A number of Jewish communities, including those in France, Great Britain and Austria reported a doubling of anti-Semitic incidents over the previous year due to the conflict between Israel and Hamas. While the Jewish community here did not experience anything like the attacks overseas, the Gaza war did have an impact in terms of creating a momentary spike in incidents in the U.S.”
The Numbers: State-by-State
Continuing a consistent trend for many years, the states with the highest totals of anti-Semitic incidents were those with large Jewish populations. Once again, New York and California topped the list:
- New York State, with 231 incidents in 2014, up from 203 in 2013;
- California, with 184 incidents, up from 143;
- New Jersey, with 107 incidents, up from 78;
- Florida, with 70 incidents, up from 68;
- Pennsylvania, with 48 incidents, up from 43
- Massachusetts, with 47 incidents, up from 46.
The complete list of state-by-state figures is available on ADL’s web site.
Anti-Semitic Activity During the Gaza War
Jewish individuals and institutions in the U.S. became targets of anti-Semitism during the Gaza war. There were 139 anti-Semitic incidents recorded in July, a substantial increase from the 54 incidents in July 2013. There were another 116 reported incidents in August, up from the 56 in August 2013. And there were 92 anti-Semitic incidents reported in September, up from 58 incidents in September 2013.
While the ADL Audit does not include criticism of Israel or Zionism, such reports are included when they cross the line from legitimate criticism to anti-Semitism by invoking classic anti-Jewish stereotypes or inappropriate Nazi imagery and/or analogies.
Public expressions of anti-Israel sentiments that demonize Jews or create an atmosphere of fear or intimidation by targeting Jewish individuals or institutions in the U.S. are counted. Such anti-Semitism was evident at many of the anti-Israel demonstrations held in cities throughout the U.S. Here are some examples of incidents linked to the Gaza conflict:
- Malibu, California: Phrases such as “Jews=Killers” and “Jews are Killing Innocent Children” were found near the entrance to a Jewish summer camp. (July)
- North Miami Beach: A synagogue was spray painted with swastikas and the word “Hamas” on its front entrance. (July)
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin: An anti-Israel rally outside of a synagogue chanted slogans such as “Jews and Nazis are the same; only difference is the name!” and “Hey Yid, go home!” Some protesters also threw coins at the feet of people approaching the synagogue. (July)
- Potomac, Maryland: A man received a call at 3:00 am during which the caller threatened his life if he did not remove the Israeli flag outside his business and made a number of anti-Semitic comments. The caller called again moments later and continued the anti-Semitic rant. (August)
Selected Incidents in 2014
ADL reported 36 anti-Semitic assaults on Jewish individuals (or individuals perceived as Jewish) in 2014, up from 31 in 2013. Incidents involved the use of physical force and/or violence, spitting and thrown objects.
The following is a list of selected anti-Semitic assaults in 2014:
- Overland Park, Kansas: Shootings of three non-Jewish victims outside Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom in Overland Park, Greater Kansas City community. Shooter was identified as Frazier Glenn Miller, a known anti-Semite. (January)
- Montgomery County, Pennsylvania: While paying at a grocery store, a Jewish woman was yelled at by the customer behind her in line for taking too long. The customer then hit her with her shopping cart and said, “You dirty Jews with your coupons.” (May)
- Baltimore, Maryland: A man fired a BB gun and shouted “Jews, Jews, Jews” at three Jewish teenagers leaving a synagogue. (September)
The ADL Audit recorded 363 cases of anti-Semitic vandalism in 2014, up from 315 in 2013. Vandalism incidents are individually evaluated by ADL and are categorized as anti-Semitic based on the presence of anti-Semitic symbols or language; the identity of the perpetrator(s), if known; and the target of the vandalism and its proximity to Jewish homes, communities and institutions.
The 2014 Audit includes in its totals swastikas that targeted Jewish property or communal institutions. Swastikas targeting other minorities or those used out of context simply for shock value were not counted. In 2014, a total of 224 incidents were reported across the country involving the use of swastikas targeting Jews.
The following is a list of selected instances of anti-Semitic vandalism in 2014:
- Crawford County, Wisconsin: On consecutive days, a Jewish teacher reported three incidents of swastikas drawn on classroom items. (February)
- Deltona, Florida: A teenager’s car had a bumper sticker with Israeli and American flags scratched off. The word “JEW” was carved into the side of the car and two tires were slashed. (June)
- Lakewood, New Jersey: Swastikas were spray painted on playground equipment in a common area frequented by Orthodox Jewish residents. (September)
- Houston, Texas: A woman’s mezuzah was defaced with a swastika. (November)
- Washington, DC: Two bricks were thrown through the front window of a Chabad overnight. Staff found broken glass and the bricks when they arrived for work in the morning. (December)
Harassment, Threats and Events
The ADL Audit recorded 513 cases of anti-Semitic harassment in 2014, up from 405 in 2013. Incidents included verbal attacks and slurs against Jewish individuals (or individuals perceived to be Jewish); anti-Semitism conveyed in written or electronic communications, including anti-Semitic cyberbullying; and anti-Semitic speeches, picketing or events.
The following is a list of selected instances of anti-Semitic harassment in 2014:
- Cleveland, Ohio: A mural painted on a gas station wall titled “Talmudic-Priests In Church: $ex With Minors Permited. [sic]” supposedly depicts a Jew performing the controversial metzitzah
- Los Angeles, California: A Jewish organization received a voicemail that referred to its members as “Jew traitors, filthy Jew traitors, bastard Jew traitors” and likened them to a “cowardly pieces of sh-t parasite.” The caller also said, “May Hitler come back and stuff their asses in gas ovens.” (July)
- Oakland County, Michigan: An executive of a Jewish organization received a voice mail that stated, “I wanted to say that Hitler was right and that the Holocaust was f—ing hilarious.” (December)
Anti-Semitic Incidents on Campus
ADL’s Audit reported an increase in anti-Semitic incidents on campus in 2014. A total of 47 incidents were reported on college campuses, compared with 37 such incidents in 2013.
While anti-Semitism is certainly a challenge that students encounter on campus, it must also be noted that for the most part, Jewish students do not feel unsafe or insecure on their campuses,” Mr. Foxman said. “While anti-Semitism does occur too often at colleges throughout the country, generally respect is the norm, and anti-Jewish bigotry is not openly tolerated.”
The following is a list of selected anti-Jewish incidents that took place on campuses in 2014:
- Evanston, Illinois: A swastika was scratched into a Jewish student’s car at Northwestern University. (January)
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Swastikas were spray painted on an academic building on Temple University’s campus. (February)
- Ithaca, New York: An unknown person drew swastikas on a bulletin board in an Ithaca College dorm. (April)
- Atlanta, Georgia: The night after Yom Kippur, two backwards swastikas were painted on the columns of the Alpha Epsilon Pi House, a Jewish fraternity, at Emory University. (October)
Rise in Hackings of Jewish Institutional Websites
The ADL Audit reported an uptick in the number of online attacks by foreign hackers targeting the websites of synagogues and other Jewish organizations.
Jewish websites in the U.S. have become a common target for hacker groups in the Arab and Muslim world,” said Mr. Curtiss-Lusher. “While past hacking efforts against Jewish institutions have mainly focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the more recent attacks are being carried out in the name of the Islamic State.”
The following is a list of selected incidents in 2014 where Jewish institutions in the U.S. were targeted by hackers or other institutions were targeted with anti-Semitic messaging:
- Albany, New York: A Jewish high school had its homepage hacked to display threatening anti-Israel messaging along with a Palestinian flag. (February)
- Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Georgia: The Moroccan Ghosts, a politically motivated hacker group that targets the websites of Jewish institutions in the United States, defaced the websites of four Jewish institutions belonging to the Union for Reform Judaism. The hackers defaced the websites with an image of an individual wrapped in a Palestinian flag and a statement saying, “When injustice becomes law … Resistance becomes a duty.” A statement boasting about this latest cyber-attack on the Moroccan Ghosts Facebook page read: “Hacking 4 formal Zionist temples in America or in more accurate words…dirty places to conspire and plot against Palestine.” (May)
- California, Oregon, Utah, Missouri, Massachusetts: The hacker group AnonGhost claimed responsibility for the hacking of several American universities’ websites. The hackings redirected website visitors either to pages playing a recording of the Quran and featuring a message in English that starts with the statement, “Death to All Jews…Viva Hamas, Qassam” or to a page featuring anti-Israel images and playing a song with the lyrics, “Teach the son of the Jewish woman how many times we will conquer him.” (December)
General anti-Jewish expressions on the Internet, while possibly playing a role in fomenting real-world anti-Semitism, are not counted for the purposes of the Audit unless they target a specific individual or institution.
We know that online hate remains a serious problem, particularly on social media, where anti-Semitic hashtags such as “#HitlerWasRight” and other offensive messages became trends during the last year. We have challenged Internet and social media providers to address this issue head on, and will continue to work with our partners in the industry to help them adopt community standards that will shut down hateful, racist and offensive speech before it goes viral.”
About the ADL Audit
The Audit, which ADL has conducted since 1979, 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.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry. Follow us on Twitter: @ADL_News