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(RNS) The volume of physical assaults, vandalism and harassment against Jews decreased for the fourth consecutive year in 2008, according to a recent audit that tracks anti-Semitic incidents.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), whose aim is to counteract prejudice against Jews, reported a 7 percent decline in criminal acts that target Jews out of prejudice.
Deborah Lauter, the ADL’s director of civil rights, cited the changing methods of defamation as the key reason for the decrease. She said the audit did not track the explosion of anti-Semitism on the Internet, where many anonymous perpetrators turn for anti-Jewish expression.
It is impossible to keep track of the “anti-Semitic venom that spews on the Internet,” she said.
Nonetheless, Lauter said the 1,300 acts against the Jewish community that they could track are a great cause for concern.
The rhetoric of anti-Jewish discrimination has increased in the wake of the financial crisis, with online assaults against Jews due to the scandal of convicted Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff and the collapse of investment bank Bear Stearns.
“We never expect that all anti-Semitic incidents will go away,” she said. “The expectation, though, is that the people in positions of power … speak out when these incidents occur.
By Lindsay Perna
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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