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August 30, 2016 7:26 am

UK Watchdog: British Jews ‘Denied Justice;’ Despite Antisemitism Surge, Hate-Crime Prosecution Drops (INTERVIEW)

avatar by Lea Speyer

Antisemitic hate crimes saw a major surge in Britain over the last year. Photo: Campaign Against Antisemitism.

Antisemitic hate crimes saw a major surge in Britain over the last year. Photo: Campaign Against Antisemitism.

British Jews are “being denied justice” by the country’s main criminal prosecution agency as it fails to crack down on antisemitic hate crimes, the head of a UK charity and antisemitism watchdog told The Algemeiner on Monday.

“The resulting atmosphere of impunity is enabling antisemitism in our country to grow and become increasingly violent,” said Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), in reference to what he called the “woeful record”  of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in combating the phenomenon.

“Earlier this year, we published our National Antisemitic Crime Audit. We found that, despite the crackdown promised in 2014, in 2015 hate crimes against British Jews surged to a new peak, with a 26 percent growth in crimes against Jews and a 51% leap in violent antisemitic crime,” he said.

One of the more significant finds of the audit, Falter said, is that “against the backdrop of major rises in antisemitic crime, the number of antisemitic crimes charges dropped.” According to the CAA, the CPS prosecuted 15,442 cases of hate crimes, “But we are only aware of a dozen prosecutions for hate crimes against Jews,” he said.

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Falter’s comments come amid the CAA’s release of a unique legal guide on Sunday outlining UK antisemitism laws to help the country’s Jewish community secure justice against antisemites. The release of the guide, Falter told The Algemeiner, was spurred by the spike in antisemitic activity across the UK.

“The Law of Antisemitism” guide is divided into two main areas of focus: the legal process and what is considered a hate-crime offense.

In the first section, the authors of the guide break down the potential roles that victims, witnesses, the police and prosecutors will play in bringing an attacker to justice. The guide also outlines the responsibilities of the court  — and the trial process — in the event that charges are brought against an assailant. 

In the second and more in-depth section, the authors of the guide “summarize some of the offenses” considered to be antisemitic acts and “provides notes that may help you [the victim] — or your lawyer — look them up,” the guide states.

Some of the hate-crime offenses listed by the guide include incitement to racial and religious hatred, social-media hate crimes, religiously aggravated offenses, threats of violence or murder, menacing communications and taking part in racist chants during a soccer match.

Alongside the publication of the guide, the CAA also launched a new legal service that allows victims, witnesses and lawyers to ask the charity’s legal experts questions on the law or incidents experienced. According to the CAA, the group will also be willing to step in to help deal with the authorities.

In the foreword to the guide, Falter wrote, “Already across Europe, antisemitism is reaching levels that have caused Jewish citizens to leave their countries. Jews have been sought out and murdered. The forces of justice have responded too late and inadequately. It must not be so in Britain.”

The publication of the guide, he told The Algemeiner, can serve to ensure “that the authorities do their job.”

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