Anti-Jewish incidents at record high in Britain

Abuse not as likely to be violent as in France, but trends worry community.

By JERRY LEWIS
September 7, 2014 05:12
3 minute read.
Star of David

Star of David. (photo credit: REUTERS)

LONDON – More than 300 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in the UK during July, the highest monthly number since the Community Security Trust started keeping records in 1984.

CST, the charity that monitors anti-Semitism and provides security for the Jewish community, noted that its previous highest monthly total, 289, recorded in January 2009, also coincided with a period of military conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

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CST spokesman Mark Gardner said that the statistics spoke for themselves: a record number of anti-Semitic incidents, only a few of them violent, but most involving abuse and threats to Jewish organizations, Jews in public places and on social media.

“It helps to explain the pressures felt by so many British Jews this summer, with its combination of anti-Jewish hatred and anti-Israel hatred,” he said.

Gardner added that the high proportion of offenders who appeared to come from the Muslim community was of “significant concern, raising fears that the kind of violent anti-Semitism suffered by French Jews in recent years may yet be repeated here in the UK.”

The 302 recorded anti-Semitic incidents in July 2014 was a rise of more than 400 percent from the 59 incidents recorded in July 2013 and only slightly fewer than the 304 anti-Semitic incidents recorded in the entire first six months of 2014.

A further 111 reports were received by CST during July but were not deemed to concern anti-Semitic events.

CST recorded at least 150 anti-Semitic incidents in August 2014, making it the third-highest monthly total on record. And it said that August’s total was expected to rise further as more incident reports reached the organization’s offices.

Just over half the 302 incidents recorded in July – 155 - involved direct references to the conflict in Israel and Gaza. The CST explained that all incidents required evidence of anti-Semitic language, targeting or motivation alongside any anti-Israel sentiment to qualify for being registered by CST as anti-Semitic.

In a further breakdown of the statistics, 101 anti-Semitic incidents recorded in July involved the use of language or imagery relating to the Holocaust, of which 25 showed evidence of farright political motivation or beliefs. More commonly, reference to Hitler or the Holocaust was used to taunt or offend Jews, often in relation to events in Israel and Gaza, such as via the Twitter hashtag #HitlerWasRight. Seventy-six of the 302 incidents in July (25%) took place on social media.

CST obtained a description of the offender for 107 of the 302 anti-Semitic incidents recorded during July 2014. Of these, 55 offenders (51%) were described as being of South Asian appearance; 32 (30%) were described as white; 15 (14%) were described as being of Arab or North African appearance; and 5 (5%) were described as black.

Unlike recent incidents in France, there were just 21 violent anti-Semitic assaults recorded by CST, none of which were classified as extreme violence, which would involve a threat to life or grievous bodily harm. None of the 21 assaults resulted in serious injury.

There were 17 instances of damage and/or desecration of Jewish property; 218 incidents of abusive behavior, which includes verbal abuse, anti-Semitic graffiti, anti-Semitic abuse via social media and one-off cases of hate mail; 33 direct anti-Semitic threats; and 13 cases of mass-mailed anti-Semitic leaflets or emails.

CST recorded 179 anti-Semitic incidents in Greater London in July 2014, compared to 144 during the whole of the first half of 2014. There were 52 anti-Semitic incidents recorded in Greater Manchester, compared to 96 in the first six months of the year. Seventy-one incidents were recorded in other locations around the UK during the month.


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