The year 2018 saw a record number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain, a fact that comes down to “anti-Semitic” politics, not news about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to a new survey by the Community Security Trust (CST).
The number of recorded anti-Semitic events rose 16 percent in the last year to 1,652 incidents around the country, The Jewish Chronicle reported on Thursday. This represents the highest number of incidents against Jews since the watchdog began tracking anti-Semitic incidents in 1984.
While most of the attacks were non-violent in nature, the CST said they occurred at an alarmingly regular rate over the 12 months period. For the first time, the watchdog recorded over 100 incidents in every month.
Of those attacks, 66 targeted synagogues, and 30 involved shul congregants on their way to or from prayers. Ninety-six incidents involved Jewish schools, schoolchildren, or staff, compared to 88 incidents the previous year.
Reacting to the publication of the report on Thursday, CST Chief Executive David Delew said: “Since the early 2000s, there has been growing awareness that overseas conflicts cause sharp, sudden increases in domestic antisemitism. Of course, this was most obvious when Israel was in the news.
Now, 2016, 2017 and 2018 are all the worst years on record, but there is a very different dynamic. Put simply, Israel has not been fully at war and this latest antisemitism is about the condition of Britain today. It cannot somehow be blamed upon anti-Israel hatred, acted out against British Jews. Nor can it somehow be blamed upon British Muslims, as some people might rush to do.”
The report showed that of the 1,652 antisemitic incidents recorded during 2018, 456 involved language or imagery relating to the far-right, while 254 involved references to Israel and the Palestinians alongside anti-Semitism. Only 29 involved references to Islam and Muslims.
The CST also established a correlation between the overall spike in anti-Semitic incidents in 2018 and political anti-Semitism in the Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. Almost 150 incidents were linked to the party, according to the report.
All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism Chair and Labour MP John Mann said: “Sadly, these figures are not surprising, indeed they are predictable. If you consider the whole antisemitic onslaught on social media as just one incident then, in fact, the problem is bigger than the incident figures suggest.”
Labour MPs unanimously passed a motion on Monday evening, demanding that the organization’s National Executive Committee (NEC) provide detailed data in writing on the handling of anti-Semitic incidents in the party over concerns the leadership was not serious about eradicating anti-Jewish hate.
Responding to the CST’s new survey, Home Secretary Sajid Javid added: “All acts of antisemitism are utterly despicable and have no place in society. The Jewish community should not have to tolerate these attacks and we are doing all we can to rid society of these poisonous views.”
The CST report reflects what Jewish leaders in the United States and Europe have pointed to as an alarming rise in anti-Semitism. An EU survey published in December found that more than 25% of those surveyed from Britain, France, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Austria, and Sweden believed that Jews had too much influence in business and that nearly one in four believed that Jews had too much influence in wars around the world.
The poll also found that one-third of those surveyed said that they “knew just a little or nothing at all about the Holocaust.”
[Photo: Community Security Trust / YouTube ]