Britain faces abuse backlash

December 30, 2008

The attacks on Gaza have led to an upsurge in abusive messages and grafitti directed against the Jewish community in the UK.

In Stamford Hill and Golders Green, the slogans "Jihad for Israel" and "Jihad the only solution for Palestine" have been daubed on buildings in the heart of the community. Some of the daubings appeared on a wall next to the main entrance of Finchley Synagogue.

Another daubing, with the additional threat, "Kill the Jews!" was found in Temple Fortune. All the messages have been removed by the local councils. In Manchester, a pro-Hamas slogan was daubed on a Jewish building.

Seriously abusive messages were left on the switchboard of the Board of Deputies, while a number of newspaper websites and on-line chat forums have been forced to take comments down for breaching guidelines on racist abuse. At least six comments by one would-be poster were removed by the moderators of The Guardian's Comment is Free website, while other messages were taken off the Betfair gambling site.

A spokesman for the Community Security Trust said today that all the grafitti incidents had been reported to the police and that the CST were keeping a close eye in monitoring the response to the Gaza conflict. He called on the moderators of media websites to pay close attention to the kind of comments which were being posted.

"And we are also asking the police to watch out for situations — such as at a demonstration in Birmingham — where the anti-Israel rhetoric appeared to descend into antisemitism." The CST spokesman urged the community to report any incidents directly to the CST offices in their city.

Last updated: 4:57pm, December 30 2008