California had the country's highest number of anti-Semitic assaults, harassment and vandalism incidents last year, the Anti-Defamation League said Tuesday.
In its annual survey, the ADL identified 275 events in the country's most populous state in 2009, up 22 percent from the year before. The incidents included a Jewish student in Buena Park getting beaten up after confronting a classmate drawing swastikas.
Across the country, the ADL identified a total of 1,211 incidents, including the June 2009 shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Museum; the May 2009 arrests of four men accused of placing what they thought were bombs outside two Bronx synagogues; and a number of acts of vandalism.
"America is not immune to anti-Semitism, and 2009 was no different in this regard than in any other year," said Abraham Foxman, ADL national director. "It is a sobering reality that as Jews have become more accepted in society, there remains a consistent hatred of Jews among too many."
The audit identified 29 assaults, 760 instances of harassment and 422 cases of vandalism nationwide.
New York state was second in the nation with 209 incidents.
Overall, the nationwide number of incidents was down slightly from 2008, but the ADL said it had tightened its reporting methods and revamped how it considered incidents.
For example, Foxman said the swastika had become a nonspecific symbol of hate for some, rather than the main symbol of Nazism.
"So we are being more careful to include graffiti incidents that specifically target Jews or Jewish institutions as we continue the process of re-evaluating and redefining how we measure anti-Jewish incidents," he said.
The ADL said the audit included data from 46 states and the District of Columbia.
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