Anti-Semitism in Britain still at alarming levels, study finds

The second highest number of anti-Semitic incidents was recorded in the UK last year, the Community Security Trust (CST) of the British Jewish community said. More than 639 complaints about violence and abuse against Jews or Jewish institutions were received last year. They included street attacks, hate mail, threats, and the vandalism and desecration of Jewish property. The CST said the figures marked the second worst year since it began monitoring in 1984. Despite a significant fall on 2009, when 926 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded fueled by the war in Gaza, researchers said the trend of rising anti-Jewish acts was continuing. The total of 639 anti-Semitic incidents in 2010 was 17 per cent higher than the 2008 total. Moreover, violent anti-Semitic assaults in 2010 only fell by eight per cent, from the 124 incidents in 2009, and they rose as a proportion of the overall total, from 13 per cent in 2009 to 18 per cent in 2010.

CST head Mark Gardner declared: "Anti-Semitism is not the most important thing in British Jewish life, but there is clearly a significant problem. The CST, police, politicians and the government will keep working in close partnership to tackle anti-Semitism and its wider causes of bigotry and extremism." John Mann, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-Semitism, said the figures were a "sad and timely reminder". He said: "Our focus is absolute and we will continue to do all we can to ensure these numbers go down over the coming years."

The CST said the Gaza flotilla raid in May last year and prominent Jewish festivals in September led to two spikes in the number of incidents during the year. Most of the incidents took place in London (219), followed closely by Manchester (216) as well as Hertfordshire (40) and Leeds (21). Among the incidents were 114 assaults, 83 incidents of vandalism, 385 reports of abuse and 32 direct threats.

The Community Security Trust advises and represents the Jewish community on matters of anti-Semitism, terrorism, policing and security. It received charitable status in 1994 and is recognized by government authorities and the police as a partner. CST provides security advice and training for Jewish schools, synagogues and communal organisations and gives assistance to those bodies that are affected by  anti-Semitism. CST also assists and supports individual members of the Jewish community who have been affected by anti-Semitic incidents.

Read the full CST report here.

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