Incidents of Jew hate fell dramatically in the first six months of this year but more of the attacks happened in person, according to Britain’s main Jewish security charity.
The Community Security Trust said between January and June 2022 there had been 786 hate incidents, including verbal abuse, antisemitic graffiti, assaults and desecration.
It is a 43% decrease from the same period last year, when a war between Israel and Gaza drove antisemitic incidents to an unprecedent peak.
Mark Gardner, chief executive of the CST, said that was why this year’s figures were “of limited comfort”.
“Without that conflict or the influence of other factors like the pandemic, these latest figures show that the base level of anti-Jewish hatred remains far too widespread; and may even be worsening amongst younger people,” he said.
The antisemitism cases recorded in 2022 showed a marked return to offline hate, after two years of the coronavirus pandemic in which a large proportion of incidents occurred on the internet.
Four in every five cases happened in the real world while online incidents fell by 61% compared to last year.
It was a sign, CST said, that antisemitic activity is moving back from our screens on to the streets as Britain leaves Covid-19 restrictions behind.
The number of incidents also dropped in schools, but more than a fifth of all cases involved perpetrators who were children or teenagers.
“Strikingly, perpetrators described as minors were more likely to express politicised, conspiracist or extremist discourses during the course of an incident,” CST said in its analysis of the data.
“The most common type of discourse expressed by minors involved references to Nazism, the Holocaust or other language and imagery inspired by far right extremism.”
Writing in Jewish News, CST director of policy Dave Rich said: “Antisemitic incidents have shifted back to what was considered ‘normal’ before the pandemic.
“More likely to be offline, on the streets, in your face. More likely to be violent (although thankfully, still a minority of cases).
“Increasingly likely to involve children, which is troubling.”
Most incidents were categorised as abusive behaviour, including verbal abuse, antisemitic graffiti, most online antisemitism and one-off examples of hate mail. CST recorded 630 such incidents in January-June 2022, a decrease of 44%.
There were no cases of extreme violence.
Nearly a third of incidents made reference to Hitler, the Nazis or the Holocaust, or made reference to events during the Second World War.
Around one-eighth of the cases (102) reference Israel, Palestine or the situation in the Middle East.
Lord Mann, the government’s independent adviser on antisemitism, said the figures showed by Jew hatred must remain a priority under Boris Johnson’s successor as prime minister.
He said: “Though there has been a welcome drop from the historic high last year, we cannot allow the continued level of antisemitic incidents to go unchallenged.
“I will report in the autumn on my review of work in parliament to tackle antisemitism since 2006, which will provide further impetus to tackle anti-Jewish hatred in the UK.”
The majority of incidents (463) were reported in the Greater London area, with a further 21 in nearby Borehamwood & Elstree, a district with a significant Jewish population.
There were 104 cases of antisemitism reported in Greater Manchester, the region with the second-highest number of incidents.
Reports were also made Gateshead, Liverpool and Leeds.
CST said there was at least one incident in all but eight of the UK’s 45 police force areas.
Mark Hamilton, the senior officer who acts at the national policing lead for hate crime, said he believed CST’s close ties with local police forces meant the antisemitism figures would likely tally with national crime statistics.
“It is not surprising to see a fall compared to last year, given the huge spike that we experienced during the conflict in the Middle East in May 2021,” he said.
“Whilst the UK remains amongst the safest places in the world for Jewish people to live, even these reduced levels are unacceptable. The right to live free from targeted abuse is a fundamental right that we all share and we will continue to work to bring offenders to justice.
“I encourage anyone who suffers such a crime to report it, either to the police or to CST.”
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