Antisemitic Incidents in UK During 2022 Represent a ‘New Normal,’ Jewish Security Agency Warns
Antisemitic incidents in the United Kingdom during the first six months of this year involved a higher proportion of minors among both victims and offenders, according to a new report published on Thursday.
The review of antisemitic incidents between January and June — issued by the Community Security Trust (CST), the voluntary security arm of the Jewish community in Britain — observed that 16 percent of victims and 20 percent of offenders were under the age of 18.
“These are higher than the percentages typically recorded and suggest a wider trend of growing anti-Jewish hate amongst younger people,” the agency commented. “From the increase in the percentage of offenders who are minors, it is possible to infer that the surge in antisemitism perpetrated by a younger demographic, while initially a reaction to events in the Middle East, runs deeper than the desire to blame Jewish people for wars involving Israel.”
Overall, the 786 incidents recorded by the CST marked the fifth-highest total for the six month period since the agency began systematically monitoring antisemitism in 1984. While this figure marked a decrease of 43 percent from the more than 1,300 incidents recorded in the same timeframe in 2021, the CST emphasized that last year’s dramatic spike was largely driven by the war in Gaza last May.
“Without such a seismic trigger event in the first half of 2022, the antisemitic incident total was always likely to drop,” the agency argued.
The lack of an obvious trigger event in 2022, whether the fighting in Gaza or the controversy over antisemitism in the British Labour Party that resulted in an upsurge of antisemitic activity in recent previous years, meant that the current total took on an added significance.
“The 786 figure may represent a ‘new normal’ — a baseline of antisemitism in the UK — which far exceeds the half-year totals reported to CST before 2017,” the report stated.
The report also highlighted that the vast majority of the recorded incidents — 638 — took place offline in instances of face-to-face verbal abuse, assault, threats, graffiti and hate mail.
That number is the third-highest amount of offline incidents ever recorded between January and June, behind 2021’s total of 993 and 2017’s figure of 641.
“This suggests that, even in a year without a significant trigger event, in-person antisemitic activity has returned to and surpassed the volume typically reported before the pandemic began,” the report noted.
Mark Gardner, the CST’s chief executive, stressed that the agency’s findings so far in 2022 were “not comforting.”
“The proportion of incidents that involve violence, although low, has increased and is back to where it was before we were all forced apart through lockdowns and social distancing,” Gardner wrote in an op-ed for the London-based Jewish Chronicle. “The picture it suggests is one of antisemitism returning to what passed for ‘normal’ before the pandemic: crude, in-your-face, up-front hatred, and there is still far too much of it. More than 100 anti-Jewish hate incidents every single month, when that total used to be a rare occurrence.”