The number of anti-Semitic incidents targeted British Jews rose by eleven percent in the first six months of the year, new figures have revealed.
A report from the Community Security Trust also suggested that the average monthly recorded number of cases of hate are now twice as high as they were five years ago, with no let-up since the Gaza war in 2014.
A six-month CST report of incidents logged in the first half of 2016, published this week, says long-term trends are “at a sustained higher level since the summer of 2014,” which saw a sharp spike in response to conflict in Gaza.
The report’s authors say “average monthly totals are now almost double what they were in 2011–13” – with a quarter of incidents recorded as online abuse.
“Social media has become an essential tool for coordinated campaigns of anti-Semitic harassment, abuse and threats directed at Jewish politicians, student activists and other individuals,” they say, noting that offenders often use content generated on neo-Nazi websites.
The CST recorded 557 incidents between January to June – compared to 500 during the same period last year – the second highest ever for that period. There was a fall in violent assaults by 13 percent and none classified as involving extreme violence. There were also 32 incidents of damage to property and 431 of abusive behaviour including verbal and graffiti
The monitoring organisation recorded 133 anti-Semitic incidents that involved social media in the first six months of 2016, which comprised 24 percent of the overall total of 557 incidents – the second highest six-month total ever.
You can read the CST’s full report by clicking here.
Compared to the same period last year, when there were 89 reported anti-Semitic comments made online, the 133 total represents a 50 percent increase in abuse levelled at Jews over the internet.
CST bosses say some online anti-Semitic comments are made abroad, whereas others originate from unknown locations in the UK, but every incident is tracked to the location of the victim.
“Given that many prominent Jewish individuals and organisations are based in London, this can have a disproportionate effect on the London figures,” said a CST spokesman, noting that London incidents increased by 62 percent on the same six-month period last year.
“This rise in reported anti-Semitism comes at a time when division, intolerance and prejudice appear to be deepening within our society,” said CST chief executive David Delew. “Reversing this worrying trend requires real leadership from all political parties, and for the social media companies to take their share of the responsibility.”
Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham said: “Labour will always lead the way in tackling any form of hatred or prejudice but we are being hampered in that fight by a small number who are not welcome in our party.”
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said the figures were “deplorable,” while Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We want to create an environment that prevents hate crime from happening in the first place.” Rudd reiterated the £13.4 million in Home Office funding for community security.
Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner said: “The rise in anti-Semitic incidents, reported by the Community Security Trust Antisemitism Report, will trouble our whole society, and not just Jewish communities. Britain is a country where Jewish life is thriving and where we are able to live open and safe Jewish lives. These figures remind us that we must not be complacent. We have seen a rise across the board of hate crimes against different minority groups throughout the UK. I welcome the commitment of all politicians and others to tackle such crimes with renewed vigour.”
Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, the representative organisation of European Jewry also commented on the report. He said: “Unfortunately, we see a significant rise in hate against Jews in the UK. There are no events to explain it, nor conflicts involving Israel, clearly demonstrating that anti-Semitism is not tied to anything except the simple unabashed hatred of Jews. I hope all those looking for trends or triggers will clearly understand that anti-Semitism remains one of the oldest hatreds and work with us to combat it.”
The report said there was “no obvious single cause” for the rise. While the Most anti-Semitic incidents in 2016 were recorded from April to June, when anti-Semitism among Labour Party members was headline news, and when race-hate crime increased across Britain, in part due to the vote to leave the European Union.