Stamford Hill leaders accuse police of failing to protect strictly-Orthodox Jews after week of hate

Community left reeling after string of assaults and antisemitic abuse


Charedi leaders in Stamford Hill have accused the police of failing their community after a wave of vicious hate attacks over the past week.

Two strictly-Orthodox men were punched to the ground and had to be treated in hospital on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day – an assault that was caught on camera in chilling CCTV footage.

But this was just one of a string of horrific incidents in recent days. The north London Jewish community has been left reeling after another Charedi man was assaulted, an Orthodox boy was spat at, and a mob screamed at shul-goers: “Yiddos go home.”

In other shocking offcences, a family’s windows were reportedly smashed and thugs driving past a shul were said to have shouted “Free Palestine”.

Community security staff and religious leaders have told the JC that their pleas for more street patrols and better response times are going unanswered.

In a furious broadside written exclusively for the JC, Home Secretary Priti Patel attacked London Mayor Sadiq Khan for failing to draw up an action plan to tackle antisemitic violence, six months after the London Assembly voted for a new strategy on Jew-hate.

The vote came after last May’s Gaza convoy, when cars waving Palestinian flags and blaring antisemitic abuse from megaphones drove through north London.

The Home Secretary said the attacks on Charedim this week had “chilling echoes” of those “horrific scenes”.

Rabbi Herschel Gluck, president of Stamford Hill security organisation Shomrim, said in most cases the police response was either too slow or non-existent.“The police don’t feel motivated to take these cases seriously,” he said. He added that after two Orthodox men were punched to the ground last Wednesday the police took more than 40 minutes to arrive.

Rabbi Gluck claimed that the only reason the Metropolitan Police took action was because “we gave it to them on a plate”. The rabbi added: “We gave them the CCTV, we gave them the address of the victim. They didn’t have a choice but to arrest him.”

Another religious leader from the community took aim at Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, claiming: “She is a politician. She’s a very good talker, she likes schmoozing with certain people.”

He added damningly: “She does not care about attacks on Jews.”

Rabbi Gluck said that deep policing cuts had hit the Charedi community hard. Funding for Community Coordinator for Hate Crime and Violent Crime scheme, which he said had proved helpful, is due to end in March.

He said: “What we need is that these people should see Jews are not fair game. They need to see that Jews are protected by the state, that the state takes this seriously. We need to see more police on the street, more bobbies on the beat.”

Chaim Hochhouser, a Shomrim representative for Stamford Hill, also blasted the police for what he claimed was their refusal put more officers on the streets.

He also alleged police only took action against gang members involved in the abduction of a Jewish child in December after Shomrim publicised the attack.

The Stamford Hill baker attacked in the double assault last Wednesday night told the JC the incident was a “reminder that we do need to go back to Israel. We need the Messiah to come and take us back home.”

He and a friend were punched to the ground as they stepped out from under his shop’s shutter onto the street after dark.

Both men were taken to hospital after the incident. The baker said his wrist was sprained or fractured, but because it was so swollen doctors have not yet been able to tell.

In another incident on Saturday just after midday, Stamford Hill residents were left terrified after an open top bus drove through the area with passengers on board shouting “Yiddos go home” at Jews as they walked home from shul.

Yonatan Kochavi, who attends a shul in the area and saw the bus, said: “It made me think I know now what it was like from 1933 onwards in Nazi Germany, until 1945. It was the most provocative incident I’ve seen in Stamford Hill.”

A representative of the company that rented the bus told the JC the driver could not hear what was chanted by the passengers from where he sat.

Shomrim also reported that thugs had smashed the windows of a Jewish family home in Stamford Hill on Saturday evening. The group posted footage appearing to show a gang running away from the scene of the incident.

A member of a local gang was also reported to have spat in the face of a five-year-old Charedi boy on Monday.

And Mr Hochhauser told the JC that on Friday night, a Jewish man was punched and a car drove past a shul while its occupants shouted “Free Palestine”.

The Community Security Trust told the JC: “Too often we find that the first police on the scene are too slow or don’t understand the seriousness of the matter.

"The Met Police are genuinely trying to improve their performance when it comes to anti-Jewish hate crime, but they would be the first to admit that investigations can sometimes drag on for an unacceptable amount of time or just dry up completely.”

In the 12 months to December 2021, Hackney and Barnet recorded the highest levels of antisemitic incidents in London, with the equivalent of three hate crimes being committed every week.

But one activist in his late 30s said there was “more awareness and reporting” rather than a rise in incidents as such.

And Isaac Kornbluh, a member of the Hackney Police Independent Advisory Group, said he believed increased incidence reflected a rise in antisemitism across the world with social media leading to copycat attacks.

Commenting on the criticism of Dame Cressida, a spokesperson for the Met Police told the JC: “We dispute the personal views of the anonymous source and it is disappointing that this is being used to personally attack the Commissioner who is has made keeping London safe — for all — a priority.”

Superintendent Andy Port, the Central East BCU’s lead for Neighbourhood Policing, added about the comments from Rabbi Gluck and Mr Hochhauser: “They are not a fair reflection of the seriousness with which the Central East Command Unit, or indeed the MPS as a whole, treats antisemitic hate crime.

“There have been a number of alarming incidents over recent months which have understandably caused alarm to members of community. We have shared that concern and responded.”

Supt Port added that the police had arrested and charged men in connection with the Gaza convoy abuse, the attack on the bakery workers on Wednesday, and a series of unprovoked assaults on Jews in Stamford Hill last year.

He said police had also given three youths anti-social behaviour warnings and interviewed another under caution on suspicion of common assault following the abduction of an Orthodox boy in December.

Police were probing the incident on Saturday in which abuse was allegedly shouted at shul-goers, he added.

Supt Port added: “But we are absolutely not complacent, and we recognise that there is always more for us to do.

"Chief Superintendent Marcus Barnett has repeatedly stated that Hackney and Tower Hamlets are no place for discrimination and we will not tolerate it.”

A spokesperson for the Mayor said: “The Mayor has ensured the Met takes a zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism in London. Sadiq has invested more than £6m – more than any previous Mayor – to tackle the scourge of hate crime.”

Wednesday, 9.51 PM

Last Wednesday, the night before Holocaust Memorial Day, two Charedi men were attacked as they emerged from under the shutter of a bakery. CCTV footage showed a man passing them before returning to punch one of the victims, who falls to the ground. He then sets upon the other man. Both were taken to hospital and suffered minor injuries. Malaki Thorpe, 18, of Fairview Road N15, was charged with two counts of racially aggravated assault.

Saturday, 12.20 PM

Last Shabbat, passengers aboard an open-top bus were heard shouting “Yiddos go home” at Jews as they emerged from synagogue. Footage released by Shomrim showed a red bus driving through Stamford Hill as strictly Orthodox Jews walk along the pavement. One of the witnesses who heard the abuse told the JC it was “terrifying”. He said it “was the most provocative incident I’ve seen in Stamford Hill”.

Saturday, 7.52 PM

On Saturday gang members reportedly smashed windows belonging to a Jewish family home in Stamford Hill. Footage released by local security group Shomrim appeared to show a large group of teenagers running away from the attack. The incident is believed to have occurred on Gladesmore Road and was reported to the police. A Shomrim representative told the JC that more police patrols in the area would deter such crimes.

Monday, 9.30 AM

On Monday a five-year-old Jewish boy was reportedly spat at in the face while playing on a climbing frame near Clapton Pond. Local thugs such as the Webb Estate gang have long terrorised the Jewish neighbourhood. Jewish security sources told the JC that incidents such as these – which individually may be considered too small by the police to follow up on – happen constantly and add to the sense of a community under siege.

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