Anti-Semitic Incidents Up In Pennsylvania and Beyond


A new Anti-Defamation League audit showed an increase of anti-Semitic occurrences both locally and nationally in 2014.


The number of anti-Semitic incidents reported in Pennsylvania during 2014 marked an increase from those of the year before, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents.

This is the second year in a row in which the Keystone State witnessed a growth in anti-Semitic occurrences — there were 48 attacks reported the ADL this year compared to 38 attacks in 2012 and 43 in 2013. Nationally, the numbers also rose with a total of 912 anti-Semitic incidents across the United States, representing a 21 percent increase from the 751 incidents reported during the same period in 2013.

ADL’s national director, Abraham H. Foxman, noted in the audit that while the increase in 2014 was still lower than historical numbers for America, “the fact remains that 2014 was a particularly violent year for Jews both overseas and in the United States.”

Foxman pointed to the fatal shootings in Overland Park, Kan., at a Jewish community center by a white supremacist, among other violent incidents around the world as “tragic reminders that lethal anti-Semitism continues to pose a threat to American Jews and larger society as well.”

The local incidents reported in the audit targeted a wide variety of Jews, from the spray painting of swastikas on an academic building on Temple University’s campus to a Jewish woman being assaulted at a grocery store by an assailant who hit her with a shopping cart and told her, “You dirty Jews with your coupons.”

Temple University was also the scene of an assault on a Jewish student during move-in day, when 22-year-old Abdel Aziz Jalil allegedly used anti-Semitic slurs and hit pro-Israel student Daniel Vessal in the face after an argument about Israel had escalated.

One Jewish woman was beset on a dating site when she received anti-Semitic messages from a user that included the phrases "arrogant jew" and "adolf was right,” according to the audit.

Last year also saw a swastika spray-painted on the pavement near Philadelphia's Holocaust memorial at the intersection of 16th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. 

There were no incidents reported in Delaware compared to two last year, but there were 16 attacks in southern New Jersey — including one in Camden County during which a tumblr page was filled with anonymous comments including “Heil Hitler,” according to the audit — and 107 attacks in New Jersey overall, up 27 percent from last year.

“Jewish individuals and institutions must remain vigilant,” Nancy Baron-Baer, ADL’s Eastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware regional director, concluded in the audit. “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.”


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