Britain's Theresa May speaks during a Board of Deputies of British Jews event in London in 2015.
(photo credit: STEFAN WERMUTH/REUTERS)
“Despite promises to crack down on antisemitic crime, the number of antisemitic crimes charged in 2016 decreased drastically,” the British Campaign Against Antisemitism said on Saturday, with the release of its annual National Antisemitic Crime Audit.
The group’s findings, derived from figures obtained from all UK police forces, corroborated a report released by the Community Security Trust earlier this year which stated that 2016 was the worst year on record for antisemitism in the country.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism found that in 2016, antisemitic crime rose by 14.9% against 2015, or 44.5% against 2014. According to its report, there were 1,078 antisemitic crimes recorded in 2016, 105 of which were violent.
“A consistently elevated level of antisemitic crime has become the new normality for British Jews,” the NGO asserted, noting that only 15 cases of antisemitic crime were prosecuted in 2016, of which only one was a violent crime.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism also asserted that the situation appeared to be deteriorating, pointing out antisemitic incidents that occurred in the first half of 2017, including the firebombing of kosher restaurants in Manchester, and the arrest of a man who brandished a meat cleaver and machete while chasing after Jews in London.
“The failure of police forces and the Crown Prosecution Service to protect British Jews is a betrayal,” charged Gideon Falter, chairman of Campaign Against Antisemitism. “The solutions are simple, but whilst the right promises are being made, little has been implemented. The result is that British Jews continue to endure intolerable levels of hate crime.
“Britain has the political will to fight antisemitism and strong laws with which to do it, but those responsible for tackling the rapidly growing racist targeting of British Jews are failing to enforce the law,” he said. “There is a very real danger of Jewish citizens emigrating, as has happened elsewhere in Europe unless there is radical change.”
The NGO’s recommendations include measures such as producing specific training and guidance on antisemitic hate crime for officers and prosecutors, instructing Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to review all police forces’ responses to antisemitic crime, appointing a senior officer in each force with responsibility for overseeing the response to antisemitic hate crime, and requiring the Crown Prosecution Service to record and regularly publish details of cases involving antisemitism and their outcomes, as police forces are already required to do.
The group emphasized that it had already made these recommendations last year but said the law enforcement bodies have not implemented them.
“Hate crime of any type is not acceptable,” Home Secretary Amber Rudd said in response to the report. “Everyone in this country has the right to be safe from violence and persecution... We will consider the report’s recommendations carefully as we develop new ways to rid the country of this sickening crime.”
But the Crown Prosecution Service reportedly responded by saying that it does not recognize the statistics in the report and that it is wrong to claim it does not take prosecuting antisemitic crime seriously.
“Last year we prosecuted more hate crimes than ever before – more than 15,000 cases,” British media quoted a spokesman for the service as saying.