Anti-Semitism in Britain remains at an alarming high, community watchdog says in latest report

05 Feb 2016
05 Feb 2016 Facebook Twitter Email Print

The Community Security Trust (CST) of the British Jewish community recorded 924 anti-Semitic incidents in 2015, the third-highest annual total ever recorded.

In its 2015 report, the CST found that the number of incidents was 22 per cent lower than in 2014 total, which marked the highest annual total ever recorded. The second-highest annual total recorded was in 2009, with 931 anti-Semitic.

However, in those two years, significant trigger events, in the form of conflicts in Israel and Gaza, caused sharp but temporary increases. In contrast, there had been no such trigger event in 2015 and no identifiable temporary spike in incidents to explain the relatively high annual total, the CST said in its latest report presented this week. 

The highest monthly totals of 2015 were recorded in January and February, two months when Jewish communities in France and Denmark were attacked by terrorists. 

In addition to the 924 anti-Semitic incidents recorded in 2015, a further 686 reports of potential incidents were received by CST but not included in the total number of anti-Semitic incidents as there was no evidence of anti-Semitic motivation, targeting or content.

Around three-quarters of the anti-Semitic incidents took place in Greater London and Greater Manchester, the cities with the two largest Jewish communities in the UK.

The Jewish community watchdog said it was likely that there was significant under-reporting of anti-Semitic incidents to both the CST and to police, and that the number of anti-Semitic incidents that took place is significantly higher than the number recorded in this report. 

There were 86 violent anti-Semitic assaults reported to CST in 2015, an increase of 6 per cent from the 81 anti-Semitic assaults recorded in 2014 and the highest number since 2011, when CST recorded 95 violent anti-Semitic assaults.

This is the only category of incidents that increased in 2015 compared to 2014. The 86 violent anti-Semitic incidents included four incidents categorized as extreme violence, meaning incidents that involved grievous bodily harm or a threat to life. CST recorded one incident of extreme violence in 2014 and none in 2013.

Incidents of damage and desecration to Jewish property fell by 20 per cent, from 81 incidents in 2014 to 65 incidents in 2015. There were 49 incidents in this category in 2013 and 53 in 2012. 

The most common single type of incident in 2015 involved verbal abuse directed at random Jewish people in public; such incidents are more commonly associated with anti-social behavior or local patterns of street crime than with political activism or ideologies. In 354 incidents, the victims were Jews, who were attacked or abused while going about their daily business in public places. In at least 161 of these incidents, the victims were visibly Jewish, usually due to their religious or traditional clothing, school uniform or jewelery bearing Jewish symbols. 

A total of 458 anti-Semitic incidents out of the total of 924 incidents in 2015 involved verbal anti-Semitic abuse.

Read the full report here