Antisemitism in UK hits record high

Antisemitism in UK hits record high

The Community Security Trust say more than 4,000 incidents were recorded last year

More than 4,000 antisemitic incidents were recorded in the UK by a Jewish charity in 2023, with the all-time high being put down to the “sheer volume” which took place following the Hamas attacks of October 7.

The Community Security Trust (CST), said the total was almost double the previous record in 2021 and its chief executive described the “explosion in hatred” against the Jewish community as “an absolute disgrace”.

The charity, which monitors antisemitism and provides security for the Jewish community in Britain, said there were a total of 4,103 antisemitic incidents in the UK in 2023, up from the previous annual record of 2,261 incidents which had been reported two years previously.

Its report, published on Thursday, stated: “This record total is due to the sheer volume of antisemitism perpetrated across the UK following Hamas’ attack on Israel on 7 October 2023.

“Of the 4,103 instances of anti-Jewish hate reported, 2,699 (66%) occurred on or after 7 October.

“This figure alone exceeds any previous annual antisemitic incident total recorded by CST, and marks a rise of 589% from the 392 instances of antisemitism reported to CST over the same time period in 2022.”

The charity said the week following October 7 saw 416 antisemitic incidents reported to CST, which it said was higher than for any subsequent week.

Its report said: “The speed at which antisemites mobilised in the UK on and immediately after 7 October suggests that, initially at least, this increase in anti-Jewish hate was a celebration of the Hamas attack on Israel, rather than anger at Israel’s military response in Gaza.”

The charity said the first such incident reported to CST took place on October 7, “when a vehicle drove past a synagogue in Hertfordshire with a Palestinian flag

attached, windows wound down and an occupant shaking their fist in the air towards the synagogue”.

Other incidents included “Free Palestine” graffiti being sprayed on a bridge in Golders Green, which is home to one of London’s largest Jewish communities; the defacing with swastikas of a poster in London of a baby kidnapped by Hamas; and a visibly Jewish man being verbally abused and threatened by people who were attending a pro-Palestinian demonstration.

The charity said that it had, for the first time ever, recorded at least one antisemitic incident in every single police region in the UK across 2023.

CST said it had recorded 3,328 incidents of abusive behaviour, 266 of assault, 305 of threats and 182 of damage and desecration.

Among its wide-ranging findings, the charity noted a “worrying proportion of children perpetrating antisemitism”, with almost a fifth of the 2,086

incidents recorded where the offender or offenders’ approximate age was provided to CST involving perpetrators thought to be under 18.

The CST said a further 2,185 reports of potential incidents were received by CST in 2023 but were not deemed to be antisemitic – instead involving anti-Israel activity rather than anti-Jewish language, motivation or targeting – so were not included in the 2023 total.

Home Secretary James Cleverly MP described the rise in antisemitism in recent months as “utterly deplorable” and said he “will do everything in my power” to ensure the Jewish community is safe and feels safe.

Labour’s Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary, said the rise was “appalling and intolerable” and a “stain on our society”.

She said: “There must be zero-tolerance for antisemitism in Britain and those who proliferate that poison on the streets and online must face the full force of the law.”

Her comments come as the Labour party faces criticism around its handling of antisemitism allegations after a second parliamentary candidate was suspended over remarks about Israel.

The party has insisted there are “strong checks” on would-be MPs, after parliamentary candidate Graham Jones was suspended on Tuesday, only a day after Labour was forced to suspend and withdraw its backing for Rochdale by-election candidate Azhar Ali.

CST chief executive Mark Gardner said: “British Jews are strong and resilient, but the explosion in hatred against our community is an absolute disgrace.

“It occurs in schools, universities, workplaces, on the streets and all over social media.”

He thanked the Government and police for their support but added: “We condemn the stony silence from those sections of society that eagerly call out racism

in every other case, except when it comes to Jew hate.”

The Government’s independent adviser on antisemitism, Lord Mann said the report’s figures are a “reminder to British civil society of the serious nature of antisemitism and the impact that it has on the Jewish community”.

He added: “This country will not tolerate the abuse or intimation of any of its citizens and I will continue to make sure that it remains a safe place for our Jewish community.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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