Anti-Semitism in Britain skyrocketed after Gaza op

Report published by nonprofit organization says 2008 drop in anti-Semitic incidents overshadowed by unprecedented rise.

anti semitic grass 248 (photo credit: Courtesy)
anti semitic grass 248
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the UK fell for the second year running in 2008, according to a report published by the Community Security Trust (CST) on Thursday. However CST, a charity that monitors anti-Semitism and provides security advice and training for the Jewish community, has reported that last year's drop has since been overshadowed by an unprecedented rise in anti-Semitic attacks on the Jewish community during the recent Gaza conflict. In the four weeks after the Gaza crisis started, over 250 anti-Semitic incidents were reported. According to CST, this represents by far the highest rate since records began, and 2009 is set to become the worst year on record. "The Jewish community would have welcomed this decline in incident figures for a second year running," CST's communications director Mark Gardner said. "Sadly, the subsequent outburst of anti-Semitic rage during the Gaza conflict shows the shocking impact upon British Jews of widespread anti-Israel hysteria." In 2008, CST recorded 541 anti-Semitic incidents across the country, making it the third-worst year on record. So far 2006, the year of the Second Lebanon War, was the worst with 598 recorded cases. Still, last year represented a 4-percent fall from the 561 incidents in 2007. The total included 88 violent assaults, a 25% drop from 2007. In one of these recorded assaults, classified by CST as "extreme violence," a Jewish man in Manchester was stabbed to death, the first anti-Semitic killing in the UK since CST began recording anti-Semitic incidents in 1984. His assailant, who had delusions that Jews were persecuting him, has since been indefinitely detained in a high-security psychiatric hospital. Also in 2008, there were 74 incidents of "damage and desecration" to Jewish property; 28 direct anti-Semitic threats; 314 cases of "abusive behavior," which includes hate mail, verbal abuse and anti-Semitic graffiti on non-Jewish property; and 37 mass-mailings of anti-Semitic literature, both in print and through e-mail. Meanwhile, Monday will see the start of the London Conference for Combating Anti-Semitism. The two-day conference is hosted by the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism and the British Foreign Office. Over 100 parliamentarians from 35 different countries are set to gather in London to develop strategies to combat the growing global threat of anti-Semitism.