Antisemitic incidents in the UK leap by 30 per cent

New Community Security Trust figures reveal 767 hate incidents were reported in first six months of 2017


Antisemitic incidents across the UK have risen to their highest level ever recorded — with a 30 per cent increase during the first six months of the year.

New figures from the Community Security Trust reveal there were 767 incidents of Jew-hate logged between January and June of this year, compared to 589 for the first six months of 2016.

David Delew, CST’s chief executive, said the numbers were “unprecedented”, with the figures “almost twice as bad as five years ago”. 

In Greater Manchester there has been a staggering 84 per cent rise in antisemitic incidents, while in Greater London there was a 10 per cent rise.

Improved reporting may partly account for the rise, but CST’s report concludes that better security at Jewish buildings and greater awareness of antisemitic crime by the police “do not, alone, explain the scale and breadth of the increase”. CST suggests that a “cumulative effect” of long-term factors have heightened concern about antisemitism in the Jewish community. 

The high profile given to the issue of antisemitism in the national media during the first half of 2017 may also have contributed to the increase.

The Labour Party’s disciplinary hearing into Ken Livingstone’s comments about Adolf Hitler and Zionism was held at the end of March and his suspension announced a month later.

The issue of antisemitism on university campuses also made headlines.

Of the 767 incidents, CST revealed that 80 were classed as “assaults”, a 78 per cent increase in the same category for 2016.

Social media was described as the “essential tool” for those wanting to harass, abuse or threaten Jewish public figures and institutions. CST recorded 142 antisemitic incidents involving social media in the first six months of 2017, which accounted for 19 per cent of overall incidents.

There were 51 incidents of damage and desecration of Jewish property recorded — an increase of 59 per cent on 2016. 

Direct antisemitic threats during the first half of 2017 also rose, with 56 recorded, including 26 which involved face-to-face verbal abuse of the victim.

10 of these cases involved a Jewish person being threatened with knives, bats, sticks or vehicles.

Abusive behaviour accounted for 568 incidents — a 24 per cent increase on last year’s statistics.

This category includes antisemitic graffiti on non-Jewish property, one-off hate mail and social media incidents that do not involve direct threats.

CST said 23 per cent of all incidents reported were politically motivated. Of these 176 incidents, 115 showed evidence of far-right motivation, 49 displayed signs of anti-Zionist motivation and 12 of Islamist origins.

Jewish schools witnessed 22 antisemitic incidents compared to the 10 recorded for the same period in 2016. 

A further 19 incidents involved Jewish schoolchildren or staff on their way to or from school. 

Ten incidents involved Jewish children at non-faith schools.

The 570 reports from Greater London and Greater Manchester accounted for 74 per cent of the total figure for the first half of 2017.

Of the 425 incidents in London, 158 were recorded in Barnet, 47 in Hackney, 24 in Camden, 16 in Harrow, 14 in Haringey, 32 in Westminster and 14 in Redbridge.

In Greater Manchester the highest number of antisemitic incidents took place in the borough of Bury where there were 51 reports of Jew-hate.

The next highest totals were 49 incidents in Salford and 17 in the city of Manchester.

There were 197 antisemitic incidents in 66 other towns and cities around the UK.

Twenty-two ocurred in Hertfordshire — where 10 were in Borehamwood — nine in Leeds, seven in Birmingham, six in Liverpool, 10 in Brighton and Hove and 22 in Gateshead.

The Gateshead figure represents a 73 per cent increase on the same period in 2016. But the report adds this increase could be the result of CST developing a stronger relationship with Northumbria

Police and due to increase reporting from security guards at Jewish buildings in the area.

The report accepts that identifying the ethnicity, gender and age of antisemitic incident offenders is a difficult task.

But in the 208 incidents in which the CST received a description of the offender, 51 per cent were described as white European, 24 per cent were described as South Asian, 17 per cent black and five per cent Arab or North African.

On gender, where CST received descriptions in 352 incidents, 84 per cent were male, 14 per cent female and just two per cent were described as mixed groups of male and female.

Mr Delew said: “CST has again recorded an unprecedented number of antisemitic incidents, with figures now almost twice as bad as five years ago. Some of this may be down to improved reporting, but it is sadly clear that the overall situation has deteriorated. 

“Antisemitism is having an increasing impact on the lives of British Jews and the hatred and anger that lies behind it is spreading.”

Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, said the increase may partly be explained by the government’s Hate Crime Action Plan which encourage more victims to report incidents.

But she added: “I am clear that one such incident is one too many and we will continue to do everything we can to stamp out the hatred and division that blights our communities.”

Dawn Butler, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Diverse Communities, said: “The continued rise in antisemitic incidents is appalling and is beginning to display a very worrying trend. These crimes have no place in our society. ”

Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan, National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for antisemitic issues, said the figures demonstrated that there had been “an increase in antisemitism directed against our UK Jewish communities. 

He added: “Police forces are committed to working with CST to respond to all instances of hate crime and protect the Jewish community from this abuse. I want to encourage anyone who is targeted in this way to report to their local police — you will be listened to, taken seriously, and officers will do all they can to bring offenders to justice.”

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