Antisemitic incidents have reached the second highest level since records began, according to annual figures released by the Community Security Trust.
The CST confirmed that 639 incidents were reported in 2010, a 31 per cent fall from 2009’s record high of 926, caused by antisemitic reactions to the Gaza conflict in January of that year.
Despite the drop, incidents were 17 per cent higher than the 2008 figure of 546 and 15 per cent higher than 2006, which previously held the highest number of incidents, caused by reactions to the second Lebanon war.
Incidents in Greater Manchester reached a record high this year with 216 reported which were, for the first time, roughly similar to the number recorded in Greater London —219.
John Mann MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, said: “These figures are a sad and timely reminder of how important our continuing campaigns are.
“Our focus is absolute and we will continue to do all we can to ensure these numbers are down over the coming years.”
The highest monthly total last year was 82 antisemitic incidents in September, coinciding with celebration of the High Holidays.
The only “trigger event” was the Gaza flotilla at the end of May, which contributed to a monthly total of 81 incidents in June.
There were 114 violent antisemitic assaults, 83 incidents of damage and desecration of Jewish property, 385 incidents of abusive behaviour, including verbal abuse, antisemitic graffiti and one-off cases of hate mail, 32 direct antisemitic threats, and 25 cases of mass-mailed antisemitic leaflets and emails.
The report finds that while the increase partly reflects better reporting rates, “There is a long-term trend of rising numbers of antisemitic incidents across Britain since the late 1990s.”
But it also notes: “Despite the correlation between trigger events overseas and antisemitic incident levels in the UK, it would be a mistake to assume that this alone explains why antisemitic incidents happen.”
Assaults included one against a rabbi and his two sons, who were attacked by a group of three white men and one white woman who punched him to the ground in London in May. He required eight stitches in his head. A man in Manchester was punched to the ground by a group of 15 to 20 white men as he walked to synagogue in August.
Campus-related incidents have dropped to 44 from 97 in 2009, and 68 in 2008. A total of 111 incidents involved synagogues and their congregants and 58 incidents involved schools, schoolchildren and teachers.