Europe

Anti-Semitic Attacks in UK Reach Record High for Second Straight Year in 2017

The number of anti-Semitic attacks have reached a record level in the United Kingdom, with the Jewish community targeted at a rate of nearly four times a day during 2017, The Times of Israel reported Thursday.

The Community Security Trust (CST), British Jewry’s largest watchdog on anti-Semitism, recorded 1,382 anti-Semitic incidents nationwide in 2017 – a 3 percent increase over the 2016, which had been the previous record. This was the highest tally that the trust had registered for a calendar year since it began gathering such data in 1984.

The report showed a 34% increase in the number of violent anti-Semitic assaults, from 108 in 2016 to 145 in 2017. The most common single type of incident in 2017 involved verbal abuse randomly directed at Jewish people in public, which accounted for a quarter of the annual tally, or 356 incidents.

One incident took place in Hertfordshire, north of London, in July. A group of visibly Jewish boys were followed by a group of boys and girls who shouted repeatedly, “I’m Hitler. I’m gonna gas you.”

The trust’s chief executive, David Delew, said: “Hatred is rising and Jewish people are suffering as a result. This should concern everybody because it shows anger and division that threaten all of society. We have the support of government and police, but prosecutions need to be more visible and more frequent.”

There have been some improvements in the reporting of anti-Semitic incidents, in part related to high-profile anti-Semitic scandals in the Labour Party, which were widespread in 2016, continued into 2017. “Therefore, antisemitism has attracted public debate and been reported on extensively in the national media,” CST noted.

The home secretary, Amber Rudd, said anti-Semitism was a “despicable form of abuse” which had “absolutely no place in British society.”

She said: “I welcome this report’s findings that the rise in reported incidents partly reflects the improving response to these horrendous attacks and better information sharing between the CST and police forces around the UK.” Rudd added: But even one incident is one too many, and any rise in incidents is clearly concerning, which is why this government will continue its work protecting the Jewish community and other groups from antisemitism and hate crime.”

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