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Antisemitic incidents rise slightly

    The number of antisemitic incidents in the UK rose fractionally in the first six months of this year compared to last year, probably due to new reporting methods.

    In its half-year report, the Community Security Trust recorded 299 antisemitic incidents, up two per cent from 294 last year but well down on the record high of 628 in 2009, which reflected reaction to the Gaza War earlier that year.

    Antisemitic incidents in Manchester dropped by 38 per cent from 125 in January-June 2011 to 78, while those in London rose from 100 to 148.

    But the CST noted that 48 of the London incidents resulted from a new information-sharing programme with the Metropolitan Police, which came into effect this year: without the police-reported incidents, the London figure would have matched last year’s.

    CST communications director Mark Gardner said: “Although it is too soon to draw firm conclusions about the fall in reported incidents in Manchester, we hope that it may reflect the good work done by Manchester Police in prosecuting and convicting offenders.”

    Violent assaults fell by 21 per cent from 42 in the first half of last year to 33, with one, constituting grievous bodily harm, classified as “extreme”.

    The most common single incident, according to the CST, was “random, spontaneous, verbal antisemitic abuse, directed at people who look Jewish while they go about their business in public places”.

    Just over two-fifths of the incidents involved “political discourse”. In 87 of these, far-right language was used, 32 referred to Israel, Zionism or the Middle East and 10 involved Islamist discourse.

    The highest number of incidents came in March, with a notable increase after the terrorist shooting in Toulouse, France.

    But CST thought that the spike “may reflect a greater motivation to report incidents after the shooting, rather than an actual increase in incidents”.

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