Anti-Semitic graffiti in Britain 390.
(photo credit: CST)
LONDON – The UK saw a drop in the number of anti-Semitic incidents for a second
year in 2011; however it is still the fourth-highest annual total since
recording began in 1984.
According to a report published Thursday by the
Community Security Trust, a Jewish charity which monitors anti-Semitism and
provides security for the British community, there was a 9 percent drop in
incidents in 2011.
The charity recorded 586 anti- Semitic incidents
across the country in 2011, compared to 645 incidents in 2010. A further 437
reports were received by CST, but were not deemed to be anti-Semitic, hence are
not included in the total.
For the first time, there were more
anti-Semitic incidents in Greater Manchester than in Greater London, according
to the report. The charity said that this is mainly the result of improved
reporting of incidents by Manchester’s Jewish community, the work of Greater
Manchester Police and a close working relationship it has with CST.
the report, the breakdown of the incident types shows that there were 92 violent
anti-Semitic assaults during the year, including one classified as “extreme
violence,” which CST deems as an attack potentially causing loss of life or
grievous bodily harm. This represents a fall of 19% from the 114 assaults
reported in 2010, and is the lowest number of violent assaults since 2008, when
88 were recorded.
The incident of extreme violence involved a Jewish
family who were filling up their car at a petrol station in Manchester. As one
of the family members went to pay, a car with two white women reversed sharply
into her, knocking her to the ground. The occupants then got out of their car,
shouted, “Dirty Jew” and spat on the injured woman on the ground, before getting
back into their car and driving away.
One of the examples of assault
highlighted in the report states that a visibly Jewish man was walking to his
car when the driver of another vehicle spat at him and said “You Jew.” The
perpetrator drove off but then turned around and came back, and shouted, “Free
Palestine!” at the victim.
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There were also 63 incidents of desecration of
Jewish property, a fall of 24% from 83 incidents in 2010.
gravestone desecration at a Jewish cemetery in the Midlands; a Jewish student
living in student accommodation in Glasgow finding a picture of a hanukkia on
her front door had been removed and replaced with a swastika; and “F*** all
Jews” written on the gates of a synagogue in Belfast.
There were also 394
incidents of abusive behavior, including verbal abuse, anti-Semitic graffiti and
oneoff cases of hate mail.
An example of abusive behavior reported to CST
included an incident in a London supermarket when a Jewish woman standing at the
checkout overheard a man at the next till talking loudly about Israel and Gaza.
She then heard the man say, “Hitler had the right idea. It’s a shame he didn’t
gas them all.”
A fall of 9% of direct anti-Semitic threats – which
includes direct threats, whether verbal or written – was also recorded, from 32
incidents reported to CST in 2010, to 29 incidents in 2011. Eight cases of
mass-mailed anti-Semitic leaflets or e-mails were reported.
In 2011, a
Jewish man received a leaflet through his door stating that 9/11 was carried out
“The same forces behind Israel are the same forces that
created 7/7 [2005 London terror attack], WWI, WWII, the Russian Revolution, the
French Revolution, every conceivable act of terrorism and financial downfall in
history, including this recession,” the leaflet claimed.
“This fall in
incident numbers for a second year is welcome news, but it follows an especially
worrying high in 2009,” said CST Spokesman Mark Gardner. “Anti-Semitism is not
the most important feature in British Jewish life, but it remains a serious
problem in some parts of society, and retains the potential to worsen
significantly in reaction to external events.”
Gardner said that CST will
continue to work closely with the police and its partners inside and outside
government, “to support those whose lives are blighted by bigotry and
The last six years have seen the six highest annual totals of
incidents recorded by CST. In 2006, 598 incidents were recorded; 561 in 2007;
546 in 2008; and 929 in 2009. The 2009 peak reflected anti-Semitic reactions to
the conflict between Israel and Hamas, illustrating the impact external events
can have on British anti-Semitism.
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