British inquiry launched on anti-Semitism in UK

Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Britain, with the number of incidents at their highest level for a generation, the chairman of an influential Parliamentary committee said Wednesday. The Parliamentary Committee Against Anti-Semitism has ordered an all-party inquiry into the extent and nature of contemporary anti-Semitism. Inquiry chairman, the former Europe minister Denis MacShane, said there is evidence that many British Jews "are living with an unacceptable level of anxiety and discomfort as a result of a perceptible rise in anti-Semitism." Community Safety Trust, a group representing Britain's Jewish community, says there were 532 anti-Semitic incidents - defined as malicious acts toward the Jewish community - last year. The incidents - which included physical attacks, name calling, hate mail and the desecration of property, such as the vandalism of synagogues with swastikas - represented a 42 percent increase on 2003 figures and were well above the previous high of 405 in 2000. The inquiry is seeking written submissions and will also interview witnesses before reporting in the spring.