JTA — An anti-Semitism watchdog counted 70 anti-Semitic incidents in Italy in 2011.

The figure reported Dec. 6 by the Milan-based Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation is up from approximately 40 such occurrences documented the previous year.

Stefano Gatti, a researcher, told the Italian news agency ANSAmed that incidents ranged from a few cases of physical assault to the daubing of anti-Semitic graffiti on Jewish institutions and elsewhere.

Most of the incidents observed in 2011 were graffiti or online defamation and intimidation, according to the report.

Gatti said that in Italy, “essentially anti-Semitism is not violent, but rather ideological,” but that the “data show the situation is changing, evolving negatively.”

He said that the increase might be due in part “to more efficient data-gathering, but the episodes have undeniably increased.”

ANSAmed quoted Gatti as saying that “certain attitudes are no longer perceived as anti-Semitic and no longer rate a social reaction. The joke that used to be whispered after one glass too many is now shamelessly told out loud.”