Jewish security officials have urged the government to “clamp down” on racism after 87 incidents reported in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote.
While confirming that there has as yet been no increase in anti-Semitism, CST spokesman Dave Rich said: “In terms of bigger picture, it’s worrying, and part of a wider atmosphere of xenophobia, which the authorities should clamp down on very quickly.”
He added that political leaders “need to make sure it doesn’t spread by not using divisive and xenophobic language and by explicitly condemning hate crime”.
Police figures shown a 57 percent spike in hate crime targeting immigrant communities in the three days after the referendum, with officers saying this was “no coincidence”. Among the examples reported were instances of racist graffiti daubed on Polish centres and other ethnic minorities being abused in the streets and on social media.
The CST said it works with different ethnic communities to share expertise, and while Rich confirmed there were no plans to extend this in the wake of the vote, he explained that “if we receive any requests of that nature we’ll do what we can”.
Echoing the sentiments was the Jewish Council for Racial Equality (J-CORE), which said it was “extremely concerned” by the increasing number of incidents of racist abuse taking place on British streets since the EU referendum on Thursday.
“The UK is home to more than 65 million people,” the rights group said. “Over decades we have all worked very hard to ensure that people feel safe in their communities. It is important that we stand together, regardless of race, religion or political opinion, to ensure everyone understands that the abuse experienced by many in the last few days is unacceptable.”
J-CORE added that it was “especially incumbent on politicians”, on all sides to “reaffirm their own commitment to the safety and security of minorities in Britain, many of whom now feel forced to question whether they have a place here”.
Gillian Merron, chief executive of the Board of Deputies, said: “The Jewish community knows all too well these feelings of vulnerability and will not remain silent in the face of a reported rise in racially-motivated harassment.”
Prime Minister David Cameron has called the incidents “despicable” while London Mayor Sadiq Khan asked the capital to “stand guard” against divisive rhetoric.