Record Number of Antisemitic Incidents Recorded in London Amid ‘Free Palestine’ Protests in May
A record number of antisemitic incidents were recorded in London in May, the vast majority of them connected to the renewed armed conflict between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza.
Figures released on Tuesday by the Community Security Trust (CST) — the UK Jewish community’s voluntary security agency — showed 201 incidents targeting Jews in the British capital last month, including 12 assaults and 160 episodes of abuse.
The previous monthly record in London were the 174 antisemitic incidents registered in July 2014, at the height of the war in Gaza that year.
Dave Rich, director of policy for the CST, told the BBC that the attacks were carried out by people who “take out their feelings about the conflict with racist abuse on British Jews.”
Said Rich: “This abuse has nothing to do with Israel, it’s just racism directed towards Jewish people who are picked out on the streets, on the internet, because they are Jewish.”
During the fighting in the Middle East last month, the CST warned of a fivefold increase in antisemitic outrages. Among the incidents recorded was a convoy of vehicles driven by Islamist radicals through Jewish neighborhoods in north London, who screamed antisemitic threats through a megaphone.
Meanwhile, police in London revealed that a Muslim man leapt to the defense of two Jewish men who were assaulted as they left a kosher restaurant near the city’s West End.
The attack occurred on May 23, as the two men — named as Alex Menashe and Joseph Cohen — left the restaurant in the Baker Street neighborhood. Two men assaulted the pair while yelling antisemitic abuse. According to the police, a member of the Muslim community confronted the assailants, who ran off, and then offered the victims shelter. Neither man was injured.
“It was terrifying,” Cohen told the BBC as he recalled the attack. “I’ve walked around London dressed as an Orthodox Jew for years and never had any issues. Something feels different at the moment, there’s a wave of antisemitism. And it’s not just me. Most Jews that I know feel unsafe in a country we’ve lived in all our lives. It’s harrowing.”