ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents Reported in 2013: Incidents Nationwide and in Colorado Decline Overall while Assaults Increase

  • April 2, 2014

Denver, CO, April 1, 2014 …The total number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States fell by 19 percent in 2013, continuing a decade-long downward slide and marking one of the lowest levels of incidents reported by the Anti-Defamation League since it started keeping records in 1979. Anti-Semitic incidents in Colorado mirror the national trend, decreasing from 13 in 2012 to 9 in 2013.

ADL’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, released today, reported a total of 751 incidents across the U.S. during the 2013 calendar year, representing a 19 percent decline from the 927 incidents reported during the same period in 2012.  In 2013, anti-Semitic incidents were reported in 41 states and the District of Columbia.

The annual ADL Audit includes 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 30 regional offices across the country and to law enforcement.

ADL’s Mountain States Region, consisting of Colorado and Wyoming, experienced a decrease in anti-Semitic incidents from 13 in 2012 to 9 in 2013. No incidents were reported to ADL from Wyoming in 2012 and 2013. Incidents occurring in 2013 in Colorado that were reported to ADL included:

  • the placement of a burned copy of The Diary of Anne Frank on the property of a Jewish family
  • the vandalism of a synagogue sign with a swastika and the word “Jew”
  • recruitment efforts by members of the anti-Semitic and white supremacist Ku Klux Klan


ADL Mountain States Board Chair Andrea Shpall and Mountain States Regional Director Scott L. Levin issued the following statement:


“The drop in anti-Semitic incidents in the Mountain States Region is encouraging; however, nine incidents of anti-Semitism are nine too many. 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 to ‘stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.’”


ADL has conducted the Audit annually in the U.S. since 1979.


In recent years, the ADL Audit has placed anti-Jewish incidents into one of three categories: assault, harassment or vandalism.  In 2013 the numbers were as follows:

  • Assaults: 31 incidents reported in 2013, compared with 17 in 2012;
  • Vandalism: 315 incidents in 2013, compared with 440 in 2012;
  • Harassment, threats and events: 405 incidents in 2013, compared with 470 in 2012.


While the total number of anti-Semitic incidents nationwide declined overall, a disturbing trend saw a significant increase in violent anti-Semitic assaults.  The Audit recorded a total of 31 anti-Semitic assaults on Jewish individuals or those perceived as Jewish in 2013, up from 17 in 2012.

The reported assaults included: An unprovoked attack on a 24-year-old Jewish man wearing a yarmulke by four men in Brooklyn, NY; an assault of a 12-year-old Jewish girl who had a bottle thrown at her by a group of girls, including one who yelled, “You dirty Jew”; and the attack of a Jewish man in Hollywood, CA, who was surrounded by five male suspects who yelled “Heil Hitler!” before striking him.       None of those assaults was life threatening or required hospitalization.

            “We must remember that there are people behind every one of these numbers, and every incident represents one person or an entire community affected by the trauma of anti-Semitism,” said Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair. “Every swastika scrawled on a school or rally held by a racist group demands a response — by law enforcement, by the community, and by public officials – to ensure that we reinforce the message that anti-Semitism is unacceptable in society.”


A Quiet Year for Anti-Israel Activity


One reason for the decline in figures was a relatively quiet year for anti-Israel activity in the public sphere compared to previous years when military conflicts involving Israel – such as the 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon and military campaigns in Gaza to thwart Hamas rocket attacks – spurred hundreds of demonstrations in major cities across the U.S. that sometimes featured blatantly anti-Semitic slogans, signs and rhetoric.

While the Audit does not include criticism of Israel or Zionism, such reports are included if 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 for U.S. Jews are counted.


Internet Hate A Factor, but Remains Unquantifiable


            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.

            “The explosion of viral hate is impossible to quantify, but should not be ignored,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  “The Internet provides racists and bigots with an outlet to reach a potential audience of millions, and we suspect that it has also led many to take their opinions online rather than leafleting entire neighborhoods. So that may have an impact on the Audit’s findings, which measure real world incidents as opposed to viral hate, which is impossible to quantify given its proliferation on the Internet and on social media.”

About the ADL Audit


The Audit 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.