By KEVIN DERBY
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released its “Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents” report on Tuesday and found fewer incidents taking place in Florida thanks to a dip in non-criminal harassment.
“There were 76 verified incidents of anti-Semitism in Florida in 2018,” the ADL noted.“Vandalism and assaults remained at their 2017 levels, while reported incidents of non-criminal harassment dropped. Nationally, there were 1,879 reports of incidents targeting Jews and Jewish institutions in 2018, the third-highest year on record since ADL started tracking such data in the 1970s.”
Sheri Zvi, the ADL’s Florida regional director, weighed in on the report.
“Although Florida’s decline in non-criminal incidents of anti-Semitic harassment is encouraging, the absence of a similar drop in assaults and vandalism is troubling,” said Zvi. “No one should be a victim of anti-Semitism, but anti-Semitic assaults and vandalism, in particular, have an impact far beyond their individual targets, striking fear within the entire Jewish community and beyond.”
Despite that, Zvi insisted there has been more “anti-Semitic vandalism focused in the political sphere, with the use of Nazi and Holocaust imagery” in Florida.
“As we prepare for the 2020 election cycle, we call on all leaders, public officials, and candidates to firmly take a stance against any act of anti-Semitism or bigotry whether by supporters or opponents, because bigotry has no place in our civil discourse,” Zvi said.
This included the 2018 gubernatorial campaign as the ADL reported a swastika spray-painted on a campaign sign for Republican Ron DeSantis in Tallahassee and swastikas sprayed on signs for Democrat Philip Levine in Tampa.
The ADL reported the majority of anti-Semitic incidents in the Sunshine State last year took part in South Florida.