Highest levels of hate for five years

By Marcus Dysch, July 31, 2014
Police speak to an anti-Israel protester wearing a T-Shirt displaying a Magen David and swastika

Police speak to an anti-Israel protester wearing a T-Shirt displaying a Magen David and swastika

Antisemitic incidents in Britain rose by a third in the first six months of this year, and have rapidly increased further in the past four weeks as Israel's military operation in Gaza continues.

Figures published this week by the Community Security Trust showed more than 300 recorded cases between January and June, up 36 per cent on the same period last year.

CST said more than 130 antisemitic incidents had also been recorded in Britain since the start of Operation Protective Edge last month. The figure makes July the worst month on record after January 2009, at the time of Israel's Cast Lead operation in Gaza.

The six-monthly rise, combined with July's figures, means 2014 is likely to be one of the worst years of antisemitism ever recorded in this country.

On Saturday, an estimated 45,000 people took part in a march through central London in support of Gaza. Seakers included Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott.

Boycott campaigners outside the Kedem store in the city centre

Boycott campaigners outside the Kedem store in the city centre

In Leeds an anti-Israel rally featured banners comparing Gaza to a concentration camp.

At the Palestine Solidarity Campaign march in Brighton a large "Stop arming Israel" banner was displayed, and Green MP Caroline Lucas called for an arms embargo on Israel.

Israeli-born property journalist Mira Bar-Hillel sparked anger after claims that Jewish journalists did not criticise Israel because they feared being shunned by the community.

England cricketer Moeen Ali was ordered by the International Cricket Council to remove pro-Palestinian wristbands he wore during a Test match against India.

In Cardiff, South Wales Police said it was investigating violence between pro-Palestinian marchers and local residents.

Footage emerged of a convoy of cars bringing traffic to a halt in the Blackwall Tunnel in south London. Drivers displayed Palestinian and Isis flags.

Preston Council leader Peter Rankin accepted responsibility after the authority flew the Palestinian flag above the town hall despite a public backlash against the plan. Bradford Council also flew the Palestinian flag outside its city hall. Leader David Green said it was done "in recognition of the suffering and deaths of hundreds of people in Gaza".

Suspect packages were sent to three Jewish organisations, leading to CST warning all groups to be on guard.

Performances by Israeli theatre company Incubator were cancelled by the Underbelly Cow Barn venue in Edinburgh after protests by pro-Palestinian activists. A theatre spokesman said policing the protest made it untenable for the show to continue.

Polling carried out by YouGov this week showed that 62 per cent of the British public believe Israel is guilty of war crimes. But the same research also showed 65 per cent thinking Hamas has broken international law.

In Paris pro-jihad and antisemitic placards were displayed, and strictly Orthodox anti-Zionist Neturei Karta members were subjected to physical abuse.

Israeli footballer Eden Ben Basat has left France's Ligue 1 team Toulouse blaming the rise in French antisemitism.

A café in the Belgian town of Saint-Nicholas displayed a sign stating that Jews were not allowed to enter. The Turkish organisation that ran the Mavi Marmara-led flotilla to Gaza in 2010 is said to be considering a new aid convoy, assisted by a Turkish military escort.

Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo, told a radio show he would like to shoot Zionists and see more Israelis killed.

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt refused to sign a letter from all Nordic social democratic leaders condemning Israel over the war.

Additional reporting Simon Griver and Michel Gurfinkiel

Last updated: 4:50pm, July 31 2014