Rise in antisemitism makes 2012 third worst year on record

A fence daubed with graffiti (Photo: CST)

A fence daubed with graffiti (Photo: CST)

Antisemitic incidents in Britain rose slightly last year, making 2012 the third worst year on record.

Figures released by the Community Security Trust show there were 640 reported attacks against Jews, up from 608 the previous year and representing a national increase of five per cent year-on-year.

CST said around 100 incidents had been reported as part of a new programme run with the Metropolitan Police in London, with the two organisations sharing all reports of antisemitism.

The more efficient reporting system led to a 55 per cent increase in incidents recorded by CST in the capital.

A 34 per cent reduction was recorded in Manchester, where CST and police have been running the exchange programme since 2011.

Among the recorded incidents nationally were 60 "violent antisemitic assaults", of which two were classified as "extreme violence".

One of the most serious cases involved an attack on a Jewish schoolboy in Northern Ireland who was kicked unconscious following a lesson about the Holocaust.

In another incident in Glasgow a Jewish couple were punched while walking down the street. One victim needed 12 stitches after the attack, which happened when they were approached by a mentally ill man carrying a knife.

The majority of incidents were in the "abusive behaviour" category, which includes verbal attacks, antisemitic graffiti and hate mail.

Social media sites were the fastest-growing source of antisemitic behaviour, with CST recording 80 incidents last year, compared to 12 in 2011. The charity's report stated: "This reflects the growing relevance of social media as a place where Jews encounter antisemitism and the ease with which it can be reported from there directly to CST online."

Some attacks did not involve Jews at all. An argument over the opening of a window in a train carriage in Bradford, west Yorkshire, last June included one passenger suspecting another of being Jewish and shouting: "You Jews need to be got rid of. Why don't you go back to Israel? Go back to Israel where you belong."

CST spokesman Mark Gardner said: "The rise in recorded incidents in London and the fall in Manchester are both, paradoxically, the results of our efforts to find new ways to work with the police to map antisemitic incidents, investigate hate crimes and support victims.

"We continue to encourage victims of antisemitic hate crime to report their experiences so we can give them the help they need and support the efforts of law enforcement to catch offenders and reduce incidents."

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: "There can be no hiding place for hate in our society. The Jewish community, who have given so much to this country, have a right to walk the streets in peace and sleep safe in their beds without fear of discrimination or attack.

"While these statistics show more is being done to share information, they are a stark reminder of the presence of antisemitism in our society. Every one of these incidents is an affront to decency and we must continue to remain vigilant to these sort of attacks."

Faith Minister Baroness Warsi added: "The government has a clear zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism and all forms of hate crime. More reporting and better statistics are crucial to our understanding of the scale of this problem."

Greater Manchester Police Chief Superintendent Caroline Ball said the reduction in antisemitic hate crimes in the city "demonstrates the huge benefit of police officers and the CST working together with our communities to get a better understanding of the problem at hand".

Last updated: 9:57am, February 8 2013