Record number of anti-Semitic incidents in UK in 2016

The UK’s Jewish community experienced a surge in anti-Semitic attacks in the past year, while expressions of Jew hatred on social media are becoming widespread.

A new report published by the Community Security Trust (CST) on anti-Semitic incidents in the United Kingdom in 2016 shows that there was an alarming record number of anti-Semitic hate incidents over the course of the year.

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

Previously, the highest annual total of anti-Semitic incidents recorded by CST had been 1,182 incidents recorded in 2014. CST, an anti-Semitism watchdog in the UK, has recorded anti-Semitic incidents since 1984.

A further 791 reports were received by CST in 2016, but were not deemed to be anti-Semitic and were not included in this total.

CST Says No Single Cause for Spike in Incidents, But Correlation Found with Muslim Migration

There is no obvious single cause for the record total of anti-Semitic incidents in 2016, CST says. Previously, record high incident totals have been caused by anti-Semitic reactions to specific ‘trigger events.’ In contrast, there was no single, sudden trigger event in 2016, and the high number of incidents was spread uniformly through most of the year. Jews have increasingly reported assaults and intimidation, mostly from Muslim extremists.

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A study by the Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy (ISGAP), however, found a link between Muslim migration to Europe and anti-semitic attacks, stating, “Perpetrators of the most extreme cases of violence against European Jews in recent years were Muslims, and they partly justified their actions by their interpretation of Islam.”

The study further found that more than 50 percent of the perpetrators in all antisemitic incidents in France in recent years are Muslim or Arab, even though Muslims make up only 6 to 8 percent of the total population of France.

Every month from May to December saw a monthly incident total above 100 incidents, an unprecedented run of consistently high totals over an eight month period. For comparison, in the decade prior to 2016 monthly totals above 100 incidents only occurred six times.

CST currently records, on average, more than double the number of anti-Semitic incidents per month than was the case four years ago.

The most common single type of incident recorded by CST in 2016 involved verbal abuse randomly directed at visibly Jewish people in public.

In 385 incidents, 29 percent of the overall total, the victims were abused while going about their daily business in public places. In at least 186 of these incidents, the victims were visibly Jewish, usually due to their religious or traditional clothing, school uniform or jewelry bearing Jewish symbols.

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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, perpetrated by transnational networks of online anti-Semitic activists.

CST recorded 287 anti-Semitic incidents that involved social media in 2016, comprising 22 percent of the overall total incidents. This was an increase over the 185 incidents involving social media that CST recorded in 2015.

These totals are only indicative and in some ways understate the scale of the problem: targeted campaigns directed at individual victims often involve dozens of social media accounts sending hundreds or even thousands of tweets, images or posts within a concentrated time span, CST stressed.

107 violent Anti-Semitic Assaults

The 1,309 anti-Semitic incidents recorded in 2016 included 107 violent anti-Semitic assaults, an increase of 29 per cent from the 87 violent incidents recorded in 2015. None of these violent incidents were classified by CST as ‘Extreme Violence’, which would mean they involved potential grievous bodily harm or threat to life.

There were 65 incidents of damage and desecration of Jewish property in 2016 and 15 cases of mass-mailed anti-Semitic leaflets or emails.

Over three-quarters of the 1,309 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in Greater London and Greater Manchester, the two largest Jewish communities in the UK.

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“Whilst Jewish life in this country remains overwhelmingly positive, this heightened level of antisemitism is deeply worrying and it appears to be getting worse,” stated CST Chief Executive David Delew. “Worst of all is that, for various reasons, some people clearly feel more confident to express their antisemitism publicly than they did in the past. CST will continue to support the victims of this hatred and we call on others to join us in confronting it wherever it appears.”

“Anti-Semitism is a deplorable form of hatred that has absolutely no place in a tolerant, open and diverse Britain that works for everyone,” said Home Secretary Amber Rudd. “It is vital we ensure the safety and security of our Jewish community. “

The government has recently allocated £13.4 million to protect Jewish sites and has worked to improve police recording of religious hate crimes.

“The findings of this report are extremely distressing. I don’t want to live in a country where any member of the Jewish community feels unsafe, afraid or discriminated against and it is shocking that the number of anti-Semitic incidents is on the rise in the UK,” said Labour Party Deputy Leader Tom Watson, who vowed to fight the phenomenon.

By: World Israel News Staff