The number of antisemitic hate incidents in the UK reached a new high in 2017, according to figures released by the Community Security Trust, a group that monitors antisemitism and provides security to British Jews and institutions.
This is the second annual CST report in a row that has found record levels of antisemitism in the country. In 2016 the group recorded a record 1,309 antisemitic incidents nationwide and its half-year report released in July found a 30% increase in antisemitic acts during the first six months of 2016 above the same period the previous year.
CST’s current report says that there were 1,346 recorded antisemitic incidents in 2017, a 3% increase from 2016.
The previous record was the 1,182 incidents CST recorded in 2014. The watchdog group has recorded antisemitic incidents since 1984.
CST said the increase in antisemitism was caused by a number of factors, including an increase in all forms of recorded hate crime and publicity regarding alleged antisemitism in the Labour Party. More reporting of antisemitic incidents by victims and witnesses in the Jewish community is likely also a factor.
“Hatred is rising and Jewish people are suffering as a result. This should concern everybody because it shows anger and division that threaten all of society,” said CST Chief Executive David Delew. “We have the support of government and police, but prosecutions need to be more visible and more frequent... too many others act in ways that encourage antisemites and isolate Jews.”
Previous spikes in antisemitism were caused by “trigger events” related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the same could not be said of 2016 or 2017, the group said.
CST recorded a 34% increase in violent antisemitic assaults, but the most common type of incident involved verbal abuse randomly directed at obviously Jewish people in public.
Meanwhile, antisemitism on social media declined by 15% from the previous year, although the group noted that it only records incidents that have been reported by either the victim or a witness; if the comment shows evidence of antisemitic content, motivation or targeting; and if the offender is based in the United Kingdom or has directly targeted a UK-based victim.
CST said the fall in recorded online antisemitism could be a positive consequence of social media companies’ efforts to tackle hate speech online, combined with police arrests and prosecutions.
“Antisemitism is a despicable form of abuse that seeks to undermine our values of diversity and openness, and which has absolutely no place in British society,” said Home Secretary Amber Rudd. “I welcome this report’s findings – that the rise in reported incidents partly reflects the improving response to these horrendous attacks and better information sharing between the CST and police forces around the UK, she said.
“But even one incident is one too many, and any rise in incidents is clearly concerning, which is why this government will continue its work protecting the Jewish community and other groups from antisemitism and hate crime,” she added.