British city hides Chanukah celebration over security threat from anti-Israel protesters

Brighton and Hove City Council closed its Chanukah celebration to the public over fears of demonstrations by  pro-Palestinian groups.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

Brighton and Hove City Council, in South East England, has been forced to ban members of the public from its Chanukah celebration over security fears and threats from “anti-Israel” protesters.

The celebration at Hove Town Hall had been due to be a public event, but it had to be held behind closed doors, reportedly due to the security threats posed by pro-Palestinian groups that had been expected to protest outside the town hall.

The event was held behind closed doors just before the start of a council meeting and the public gallery was kept closed. According to The Argus, there was a security presence from Sussex Police, but the ceremony was not interrupted and there was no demonstration.

“It is extremely sad that the celebration of Chanukah, a festival which commemorates victory over anti-Semitism and is especially supposed to be celebrated publicly, had to be held in private,” the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA), a UK based anti-Semitism watchdog, stated.

The UK’s Jewish community experienced a surge in anti-Semitic attacks during the past year. A report published by the Community Security Trust (CST) on anti-Semitic occurrences in the UK in 2016 shows a record number of hate incidents.

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In the report, published in February, CST recorded 1,309 anti-Semitic incidents nationwide during 2016, a 36 percent increase from the 960 incidents recorded in 2015.

One-third of British Jews expressed fear over mounting anti-Semitic crime and the failure to remove anti-Semites from politics. Many have considered leaving Britain altogether within the past two years, according to data published by the CAA in August.

A survey of 2,025 British Jews shows that only 59 percent feel welcome in the UK; 17 percent feel unwelcome. Over the past two years, 37 percent of British Jews have concealed any Jewish symbols in public.