The number of antisemitic incidents in Barnet shot up by more than 50 percent last year, the Mayor of London’s Office has reported.
Incidents logged in the borough, which has a large Jewish population, went from 126 in 2017 to 194 last year, an increase of 54 percent, prompting London politicians to urge the Government to restore the police funding cut during austerity.
The number of incidents recorded by police had been on-track to compare similarly to 2017 until a sudden surge in September, with double the number of antisemitic crimes committed in October compared to August.
While the trigger for the spike is unclear, September was the month in which the Jewish community’s battle with the Labour Party came to a head, over the adoption of a new antisemitism definition and a leaked recording of heated comments made about Jews by National Executive Committee member Pete Willsman.
London Assembly Member Andrew Dismore said this week’s figures from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) – released as Mayor Sadiq Khan launched a drive to counter violent extremism – showed the need for Jewish security groups, adding that feelings around Israel and Palestine were contributing factors.
“It is alarming that public and social media discourse on the Middle East has polarised the issue so badly that Jewish people in Britain suffer an increase in racist attacks whenever there is media coverage of the region,” he said.
“Perpetrators do not acknowledge the difference between Jewish people and the Government of Israel. This shows how important the work of organisations like CST and Shomrim are in keeping Jewish people safe.”
Dismore said the Government now had to “restore the cuts they have forced on the police,” as Barnet Labour Group leader Cllr Barry Rawlings agreed that the rise in antisemitic incidents in Barnet last year was “deeply worrying”.
Rawlings said: “We will continue to support the work of the Multi-Faith Forum, and local community groups to strengthen community cohesion. The work of synagogues to help the Somali Bravanese community after they lost their community centre in what appeared to be a racist arson attack shows how strong these bonds are.”