‘Familiar, inexcusable’ spike in antisemitism in the wake of Middle East violence

CST says it has seen a three-fold increase in incidents since the flare-up began


There have been reports of a surge in antisemitism in the wake of the escalating violence between Israel and Palestinians.
The Community Security Trust said it had seen a “sharp” three-fold increase in the number of incidents reported over the past few days. 
The charity recorded 25 antisemitic incidents between May 8 to 12, compared to seven in the five days prior. 
While two incidents involved damage to Jewish property, most were non-violent verbal abuse, threats or online antisemitism. 
An overwhelming majority appeared to have been triggered by the flare-up in the Middle East. Targets allegedly included a schoolgirl, student societies and senior communal leaders. 
“This increase in antisemitism in response to events in Israel is depressingly familiar and completely inexcusable. 
“British Jews have the right to go about our lives free from abuse or threats. We strongly urge anyone who experiences or witnesses any antisemitism to report it to CST and the police,” the CST said. 
In Golders Green, Hannah Rose, 24, from north London, said she and a friend had been sitting outside a kosher restaurant in the area when a motorist shouted “free palestine”. 
“Although I know that tensions are high and when there’s increased tensions in the Middle East, it always has consequences for the diaspora population, I don’t expect to be harassed in public, just going about my daily life as a British Jew,” the former UJS president told the JC. 
Both were “really upset” by the incident, she said. 
“We were both discussing how we had friends and family in and out of bomb shelters the whole night and then for us to be blamed for that situation when we have nothing to do with it, it’s difficult,” she said. 
Ms Rose said she had seen “so many” antisemitic tropes being shared on social media and called on users to “approach those conversations responsibly and productively”. 
“I don’t expect everyone to know everything about antisemitism, but I expect everyone to learn and want to correct themselves when they slip up,” she said. 
On social media, Jewish students were targeted with online abuse, the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) said on Wednesday.
UJS highlighted several recent examples of hateful messages, some containing references to Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust.
“Antisemitism is never the answer to increased hostilities in the Middle East and Jewish students must not be held to account for this,” it said.
Antisemitc hashtags such as HitlerWasRight, HitlerThegreat, and Holocaust_was_right were also trending on Twitter over recent days.
Banners drawing parallels between Nazi Germany and Israel were spotted at a rally outside Downing Street on Tuesday, according to the group Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA).
Protesters were filmed setting alight an Israeli flag during a rally outside Chelsea football club on Tuesday.
CAA appealed for volunteers to help with the “influx and to help monitor online antisemitism” and support victims.
“We fear we may see a recurrence of the record-breaking spike in antisemitism that we witnessed in 2014, when we first established CAA due to the failure of the criminal justice system to enforce the law against anti-Jewish racists,” said its chief executive Gideon Falter.
The Israeli actress Gal Gadot, meanwhile, was subjected to a flood of vitriolic posts over a tweet about the flare-up in violence, which was dismissed by critics as “tone deaf”.
“Israel deserves to live as a free and safe nation,” the 36-year-old Wonder Woman star wrote. 
“Our neighbours deserve the same. I pray for the victims and their families. I pray for this unimaginable hostility to end, I pray for our leaders to find the solution so we can live side by side in peace.”

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