Voice of the Jewish News: Source of the threat

Voice of the Jewish News: Source of the threat

This week's editorial reflects on the latest CST antisemitism report, and asks where the hate stems from compared to previous years

Antisemitism report from the CST, January-June 2019
Antisemitism report from the CST, January-June 2019

If anyone is in any doubt about antisemitism trends, consider this: in all of 2015, the year after the last conflict in Gaza, there were 960 antisemitic incidents in total, while in just the first six months of this year, with no Middle East triggers, there were 892.

Why the rise? Reporting is improving, but not by that much. Nor can the increase be put down to new information-sharing arrangements with the police, in place since at least 2015.

As the CST itself says, the rise in numbers is mainly due to the huge increase in antisemitism reported online. To be logged as such, an online antisemitic incident in the UK does not need to be reported by the UK victim (a ‘witness’ will do) and does not need to emanate from the UK, but does need to target a UK individual.

In the first six months of 2019, there were 323 online antisemitic incidents reported, which makes up 36 percent of the total. By comparison, in the whole of 2015, the CST recorded 185 online antisemitic incidents, which made up 19 percent of the total. In other words, the amount of online abuse recorded by the CST has grown almost fourfold in four years, and Jew hate perpetrated via social media has gone from less than a fifth of the total to more than a third.

So when Jewish leaders ask ministers to press tech giants to do more to clamp down on antisemitism, it’s for good reason. Hatred migrates from the web to the streets. The suspect in the deadly Pittsburgh shul shooting last year is believed to have taken his cues from blogs and conspiracy sites.

The CST is an enormous credit to the community it protects, and this week’s half-yearly report shows it knows exactly where the threats are coming from.

What Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new government plans do to about it remains to be seen.

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