UK Media Reports on Anti-Muslim Crimes, Ignores Anti-Jewish Ones
by Adam Levick
Multiple U.K. media outlets have devoted coverage to new statistics from the Metropolitan Police Service about hate crimes in London, which demonstrate that – from July 2014 to July 2015 – both Islamophobic and antisemitic hate crimes in the city have soared. The Met’s crime database shows that Islamophobic offenses surged by 70%, while antisemitic ones increased by 93%.
A report on the uptick of hate crimes in the International Business Times quotes a spokesperson for the Community Security Trust contextualizing the Met’s stats.
A spokesman for the Community Security Trust, which works to combat antisemitism in the U.K., told IBTimes UK that, while numbers fluctuated, 2014 was a “record high” for antisemitic hate crime. He said this was due to “big trigger events,” including the Israeli war in Gaza and the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January, which led to increased reporting. He explained that between 2010 and 2013, antisemitic crime had fallen, but that generally there had been an increase from 2000.
However, though major U.K. media sites have reported the upsurge in anti-Muslim crimes, they’ve curiously ignored anti-Jewish ones.
Though The Independent published two stories citing the Met figures noting the increase in Islamophobic hate crimes, neither even mentioned the increase in antisemitic crimes.
A report by Alexander Sehmer (“Hate crimes against Muslims in London ‘up by 70%’ police figures show,” Sept. 7) devotes 305 words to the Met’s figures, yet doesn’t note the related increase in hate crimes against Jews. (Additionally, The Independent published another story on the same day – about a British Jewish teen knocked unconscious in what’s believed to be a hate crime – and contextualizes the assault by noting the Met’s report on the rise in hate crimes against Muslims.)
A review of the Guardian finds similarly selective reporting. Though they published a Press Association report (“Hate crimes against Muslims soar in London,” Sept. 7th) that noted the surge in attacks on Muslims in London, thus far we haven’t found any mention of the dramatic increase in attacks against Jews in the city.
Our survey of recent news at The Telegraph shows that the news site followed the same pattern – devoting a long story to the Met figures on Islamophobia (“Islamophobic Britain: Where Muslim women are spat on, punched and covered in faeces,” Sept. 7). while ignoring the stats on antisemitism.
Times of London:
Finally, even Times of London engaged in this selective reporting – devoting a long story to hate crimes in the U.K. (“Warning over rise in far-right hate crime,” Sept. 8) that prominently featured Met figures on Islamophobia in London, while ignoring increased hate crimes against Jews.
What makes these omissions especially curious is that the Met Police site has a database that allows anyone to find out the most recent figures in any category of crime – including hate crimes motivated by antisemitism or Islamophobia.
Though it wouldn’t be fair to paint the U.K. media with a broad brush and suggest that editors and reporters are indifferent to antisemitism (The Telegraph and Times of London, for instance, have done a good job of covering the upsurge of Jew hatred in Europe), it’s nonetheless troubling that four major news outlets engaged in such an egregious omission concerning attacks on such a small and vulnerable community.
Adam Levick is the managing editor of UK Media Watch, an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).