London experienced a massive surge in anti-Semitism in 2015, with anti-Semitic incidents up more than 60 percent over the previous year.
According to figures recently released by the London Metropolitan Police, 483 anti-Semitic crimes were recorded during the 12-month period ending on November 15, while only 299 such incidents were recorded during the corresponding period in 2014, marking an increase of 61.5 percent.
The police defined anti-Semitic crimes as “any offense which is perceived to be anti-Semitic by the victim or any other person, that is intended to impact upon those known or perceived to be Jewish.”
Speaking with The Jewish News
, a local newspaper, a police spokesman said that his department was “committed to tackling hate crime in all its forms” and that it “take[s] positive action to investigate all hate crime allegations, support victims and their families and bring perpetrators to justice.
“There has been a rise in faith/religious hate crime. However the MPS believes these increases are down to a range of factors, including the improvements in crime recording, a growing willingness of victims to report hate crime; and an improved awareness of MPS staff to identify these offenses,” he said.
The police added that they speak regularly with local synagogues and collaborate with the Community Security Trust, a Jewish communal safety organization.
The CST said that it views the rise with concern, telling The Jewish News that it hopes it could be chalked up to “improved confidence among victims and witnesses to report hate crimes.”
In September the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency issued a report stating that it EU member nations lack systematic methods of collecting data on anti-Semitism, contributing to “gross underreporting of the nature and characteristics of anti-Semitic incidents that occur. Incidents that are not reported are also not investigated and prosecuted, allowing offenders to think that they can carry out such attacks with relative impunity,” the organization stated.
In late 2013, the FRA reported that a third of European Jews it had polled had admitted to refraining from wearing religious garb or Jewish symbols out of fear, with a further 23 percent avoiding attending Jewish events or going to Jewish venues.
While 66% reported anti-Semitism as having a negative affect on their lives, 77% did not bother reporting abuse or harassment.
While overall figures for global anti-Semitism in 2015 are not yet available, data made available by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University earlier this year indicated that violent anti-Semitism surged 40 percent in 2014.
A total of 766 violent incidents were recorded worldwide last year, a “sharp increase” over the 554 tallied in 2013, according to the European Jewish Congress, which contributed to the Kantor Center report.