CST antisemitism report: hate hits six-month high with 892 incidents

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CST antisemitism report: hate hits six-month high with 892 incidents

Home Secretary Priti Patel vows to work with the community, as the latest CST report shows a 10 percent rise in hate and 40 percent of incidents now online

Gas the Jews daubed this year
Gas the Jews daubed this year

The new Home Secretary Priti Patel has vowed to “work closely with the Jewish community” after the Community Security Trust (CST) recorded the highest number of antisemitic incidents ever in the first half of 2019, with almost 40 percent online.

Publishing its half-yearly report this week, the principal antisemitism monitor in the UK reported a record 892 incidents between January and June, a 10 percent increase over the same period last year.

The main shift is the number of incidents of antisemitic abuse on social media, which jumped by 46 percent to 323 cases and now makes up 36 percent of the total.

“This increase [in online incidents] is the most obvious single factor explaining why the overall total rose by 10 per cent in the first half of the year,” the CST said. “It is difficult to assess whether this reflects an increase in the amount of antisemitism online or more reporting.”

Priti Patel speaking at the Jewish News-BICOM policy conference.
Photo credit: Marc Morris Photography

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Antisemitism is a despicable form of racist abuse which has no place in our society. Through our Hate Crime Action Plan we continue to improve our response to all forms of hate crime so that no one is attacked because of who they are.

“We work closely with the Jewish community, and this year increased funding to the Community Security Trust for protective security to £14 million.”

CST, which disburses an annual £14m government security grant, said that if the online antisemitic abuse comes from abroad it is still logged as an antisemitic incident in the UK if the victim is in Britain.

CST chief executive David Delew said it had contributed to the steady rise in incidents and mirrored the tensions seen across society. “This is the third year in a row that CST has seen an increase,” he said. “The problem is spreading across the country and online. It reflects deepening divisions in our society and it is causing increasing anxiety in the Jewish community. It will take people of all communities and backgrounds standing together to turn this tide of hate around.”

Who and what is being targeted

In addition to the surge in online abuse, the continuing controversy over Labour Party antisemitism also fuelled the figures, with 55 Labour-related incidents in the weeks after several MPs resigned in February, citing concerns over Jew-hatred.

Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl reacted to the figures, with a focus on incidents involving the opposition.

She said: “The report shows a 46% rise in incidents of anti-Jewish racism on social media and over 100 were specifically related to alleged antisemitism within the Labour Party.”

“This makes shameful reading for the party’s leadership. They must finally take the steps required to rid their party of this appalling racism.

Defeating the evil of antisemitism will take a concerted effort by the country’s political leadership and civil society to ensure that this country remains a safe and happy place for the Jewish community.“

Labour antisemitism online

Of more concern was the 37 percent increase in violent antisemitic assaults, up from 62 in the first six months of 2018 to 85 in the first half of 2019. However, none were classified as ‘extreme violence’, meaning grievous bodily harm or threat to life.

The CST statistics showed that two thirds of all antisemitic incidents were recorded in London and Manchester, home to the country’s two largest Jewish populations. Smaller numbers were reported in Hertfordshire, Merseyside, Gateshead, Birmingham, Leeds and Wales.

Swastika on the side of a Jewish building, reported this year

After having touring Golders Green last Friday in the first week of being in Boris Johnson’s cabinet, new Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick MP reacted to the CST antisemitism stats, saying Jew-hate “has absolutely no place in our society and it is utterly appalling to see that the number of antisemitic incidents continues to rise.”

Pledging to “fund education courses to tackle the scourge of racism at its root” he added that “Jewish people, and all our faith communities, must feel safe in Britain” and that he “will do everything in my power to stamp out this cancer wherever it appears.”

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