The number of documented anti-Semitic incidents in Connecticut declined in 2012, according to the Anti-Defamation League's annual audit.
Seventeen incidents were reported across Connecticut in 2012, which included 13 cases of harassment and four of vandalism. The ADL recorded 43 anti-Semitic incidents in Connecticut in 2011 and 39 in 2010.
"While we're pleased to see a decrease in reported anti-Semitic incidents throughout the state, we're not convinced that the drop-off is as substantial as the numbers indicate," said Gary Jones, regional director of ADL's Connecticut office. "The audit is not an exact science. We rely on law enforcement personnel and individuals from across the state to alert us to anti-Semitic incidents. We will certainly be keeping a close watch on anti-Semitic incidents throughout the state -- as we always do -- over the next several years to determine whether 2012's reported decrease becomes a trend, and we hope it does. But the bottom line is, 17 anti-Semitic incidents in Connecticut is 17 too many."
"While we cannot point to any single explanation for the fluctuations from year to year, the declines of the past several years occur within the context of the continued proliferation of hatred online," said Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL national chairman, referring to the 14 percent decline in anti-Semitic incidents that ADL documented nationally. "Unlike years ago, when racists handed out pamphlets on street corners or sent them through the mail, the Internet provides racists and bigots with an outlet to reach a potential audience of millions."
Because of the vastness of the Internet, the ADL does not statistically track online hate.
Some of the incidents reported in 2012 in Connecticut included:
Mansfield: An eighth-grade student who was sent to the principal's office by a teacher wrote a note to a friend about that teacher: "Stupid Jew. We should have gotten rid of them when we had the chance and then she wouldn't be my teacher."
Hartford: About $20,000 worth of damage was done to 95 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery.
New Haven: A staff member of a senior living facility received a threatening voice mail that said, in part, "Hitler didn't do enough."
Simsbury: An international group hacked the website of a synagogue, replacing the content with information that denied the Holocaust and demonized Israel.
West Hartford: A kindergarten student told a peer on a school bus that "Jews don't care about God."
"We want to spread the word that ADL tracks anti-Semitic incidents and if you experience anti-Semitism yourself, or even if you witness it, call us and report it," said Jones.
The total number of reported anti-Semitic incidents in the United States fell by 14 percent in 2012, continuing a three-year trend of incremental declines, according to the Anti-Defamation League's annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents.
The ADL Audit reported a total of 927 anti-Semitic incidents across the U.S. in 2012, including assaults, vandalism and harassment, marking a 14 percent decline from the 1,080 incidents reported in 2011.
The 2012 total included 17 physical assaults on Jewish individuals; 470 cases of harassment, threats and events; and 440 cases of vandalism. The audit includes both criminal and noncriminal incidents reported to the ADL in 35 states and Washington, D.C.
For more information, visit www.adl.org.