Anti-Semitic acts drop in Northern California in 1995

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"The overall decline of anti-Semitic incidents, the first in three years and the largest in 10 years is encouraging," she added.

"We hope this is the beginning of a trend away from anti-Semitic acts. But, we must remain vigilant. Hate cannot be quantified, but unfortunately, sometimes the consequences can, as we saw in Oklahoma City, Fort Bragg-Fayetteville [N.C.] and Harlem."

The audit statistics reveal that states with large Jewish populations have the highest totals of anti-Semitic incidents. New York (370), California (264), New Jersey (228) and Florida (152) accounted for 55 percent of all the incidents reported. Califor-nia totals increased more than 11 percent from 232 incidents in 1994 to 264 in 1995.

Among the most serious incidents of arson and physical attacks on individuals in Northern California:

*Bottles were thrown through the windows of Congregation Beth Sholom in San Francisco.

*Eight windows were broken and eggs were thrown at Congregation Keneseth Israel in San Francisco.

*Swastikas were burned into the grass at a golf course in Gilroy.

*A Hillel student was spit on at a campus demonstration at U.C. Berkeley.

*An elementary school student in the Benicia school district received hate mail, death threats and swastikas.

According to the audit, incidents of personalized attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions continue to be significantly more common than incidents of vandalism.

The 48 acts of threats constituting harassment represent 76 percent of all incidents in the region. This category covers a wide variety of "in-your-face" intimidating and hostile acts, including slurs hurled at Jews near synagogues and at students at campus gatherings as well as threatening telephone calls.

While many of the incidents are not crimes, they constitute overt and painful expressions of anti-Semitic hatred. Incidents of anti-Semitism on campus, reported at 10, also registered an increase in 1995.

On the 15 acts of vandalism, six were committed against public property locations, eight were directed against synagogues and other Jewish targets, and one was aimed at private property.

On a national level during 1995, 108 people were arrested in connection with anti-Semitic hate crimes in 14 states.

Most active states for harassment, threats, and assaults:

New York (200), California (175), Florida (102), New Jersey (97), Connecticut (51), Ohio (50), Massachusetts (47), Maryland (44), Illinois (40), Pennsylvania (36), Missouri (31), Georgia (27), District of Columbia (21), Minnesota (20), Texas (20), Colorado (16).

Most active states for vandalism:

New York (170), New Jersey (131), California (89), Florida (50), Massachusetts (38), Arizona (26), Connecticut (25), Pennsylvania (23), Maryland (18), Ohio (17), Virginia (16), Texas (15), District of Columbia (13), Illinois (13), Georgia (12).

Incidents and statistics in the audit were compiled from reports from 42 states and the District of Columbia.