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Missouri: 10th in Number of Anti-Semitic Incidents in '09

Updated 4:19 p.m. Just got a call from Karen
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Aroesty, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League for Missouri. She tells me that two-thirds of the anti-Semitic incidents in Missouri last year resulted from the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church.

"They made a concerted effort in 2009 to take a stab at the Jewish community," says Aroesty. "They were in Missouri about every three weeks, picketing outside synagogues, day schools the JCCA and other Jewish organizations.

Original story follows...

The Anti-Defamation League yesterday released the findings of its 2009 audit on the number of anti-Semitic incidents occurring last year in the U.S. The study found a total of 1,211 acts targeting Jews -- including 29 assaults, 422 acts of vandalism and 760 incidents of harassment.

Not surprisingly, the states with the biggest Jewish populations -- California, New York, New Jersey and Florida -- led the way with the most incidents. Missouri ranked No. 10 in the ADL's report despite having a small Jewish population, just about 1 percent of the state's total inhabitants.

Missouri had a total of 25 anti-Semitic actions: 0 assaults, 1 vandalism and 24 incidents of harassment.

Meanwhile, the ADL reports that the number of hate incidents targeted at Jews declined by about 10 percent from 2008, owing to more conservative auditing measures. For example, the ADL no longer considers every spray-painted swastika it finds to be anti-Semitic.
"We know that the swastika has, for some, lost its meaning as the primary symbol of Nazism and instead become a more generalized symbol of hate," says ADL director Abraham Foxman.

Still, Foxman says that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in America remains alarming. "The fact that Jews continue to be singled out for acts of hate on an average of three times per day in this country is a disturbing reality that we have to confront," he says.



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