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February 5, 2015 3:30 pm

British Jews Suffered Record Number of Antisemitic Incidents in 2014, Communal Body Reports

avatar by Ben Cohen

An antisemitic leaflet sent to synagogues in Birmingham, Liverpool and London in August 2014. Image: CST

The Community Security Trust, the official body dealing with security for the British Jewish community, has reported that there were more antisemitic incidents in 2014 than at any other time since the organization began maintaining records in 1984.

CST recorded 1,168 antisemitic incidents across the country during 2014, more than double the 535 incidents recorded in 2013. The previous highest total came in 2009, when 931 antisemitic incidents were recorded.

The major factor in the rise, the CST said, was the war between Israel and the Hamas regime in Gaza during July and August, which fueled a rash of antisemitic incidents in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

Alarmingly, the trend is nationwide. Incidents increased by 137 per cent in Greater London and by 79 per cent in Greater Manchester. Beyond these two cities, CST received reports of antisemitic incidents from 89 different locations around the UK.

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81 of the incidents reported in the Antisemitic Incidents Report 2014 involved violent assaults. One of these incidents was classified by the CST as ‘Extreme Violence’, meaning it involved potential grievous bodily harm (GBH) or threat to life.

The most common single type of incident in 2014 involved verbal abuse randomly directed at visibly Jewish people in public. In 397 incidents, the victims were ordinary Jewish people, male or female, attacked or abused while going about their daily business in public places.

The organization also recorded 233 antisemitic incidents that involved the use of social media to transmit antisemitic threats or abuse, compared to 88 such incidents in 2013.

Schools were another target, with 66 incidents targeting Jewish school buildings, teachers, or students – more than twice the number recorded in 2013.

“Last year’s large increase in recorded incidents shows just how easily antisemitic attitudes can erupt into race hate abuse, threats and attacks,” said the CST’s Chief Executive Davud Delew. “Thankfully most of the incidents were not violent but they were still shocking and upsetting for those who suffered them, and for the wider Jewish community.”

Delew’s concern was echoed by Eric Pickles, the government’s Communities Secretary. “These figures are a depressing reminder that there is still much work to be done,” Pickles said. “We remain staunchly committed to tackling antisemitism wherever it occurs and will continue to take a zero-tolerance approach. Those who perpetrate hate crimes of any kind will be punished with the full force of the law.”

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