The number of anti-Semitic incidents increased by 36 % last year in the United Kingdom, the Community Security Trust (CST) said in its latest report.
CST, which represents and advises the British Jewish community on security matters, said it recorded 1,309 incidents in 2016, the highest number since it began collecting figures 33 years ago.
That was a rise of 36 percent from 2015 and 127 more than the previous high in 2014, with the true figure likely to be much higher because of under-reporting.
"Whilst Jewish life in this country remains overwhelmingly positive, this heightened level of anti-Semitism is deeply worrying and it appears to be getting worse," said CST Chief Executive David Delew.
"Worst of all is that, for various reasons, some people clearly feel more confident to express their anti-Semitism publicly than they did in the past," he said.
Of the anti-Semitic incidents recorded last year by the Community Security Trust, or CST, 107 were cases of physical assault, compared to 87 in 2015.
While the 2016 figure in the assault category was the highest since 2010, the bulk of incidents – 1,006 of them – belonged to the “verbal and written anti-Semitic abuse” category, which covers emails, letters, text messages and tweets.
The increase is not attributable to any specific trigger, as has been the case in years when fighting broke out between Israel and its enemies, the report said. Instead, CST cited a “combination of events and factors,” including an unprecedented public debate about anti-Semitism within the Labour Party, terrorist attacks in Western countries and the June referendum in which a majority of voters supported a British exit from the European Union.
Mark Gardner, from the CST, said the increase could be partly explained by a greater willingness to report incidents to the police but the report noted that ‘’there is significant underreporting of anti-Semitic incidents.’’
Gardner said: "Racists, including anti-Semites, feel emboldened, feel encouraged, at this moment in time, for a whole range of reasons, to come out with their hatred. They used to keep it under the ground. Now they're coming out. A lid has been lifted off."“CST did record a small number of anti-Semitic incidents during 2016 that made direct reference to the European Union or to Brexit, but not enough to explain, on their own, the overall high total for the year,” the report said in reference to the referendum, which British police said triggered a slew of hate crimes, though not many against Jews.
Commenting on the CST report, European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor said ‘’it is a very worrying phenomenon that anti-Semitism appears to be on the rise across Europe and the UK is no different.’’ He added: ‘’These results demonstrate clearly that anti-Semitism requires no outside factors and without strong action by authorities will continue to grow. We hope the fact that the UK has officially adopted a definition of anti-Semitism will mean that perpetrators will no longer act with immunity or impunity."
Friday, February 03, 2017