OPINION: It feels like a long time since antisemitism was ‘normal’

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OPINION: It feels like a long time since antisemitism was ‘normal’

The CST's director of policy Dave Rich considers six months of antisemitism without anything specific to trigger it

It feels like a long time since antisemitism was ‘normal’.

Last year the conflict in Israel and Gaza in May was the excuse for people around the country to attack, abuse and threaten British Jews.

We saw a record number of anti-Jewish hate incidents reported to CST as a result.

The past two years were also the years of the pandemic, when antisemitism shifted from the streets to our screens, with ‘Zoombombing’ of Jewish community events the new method for antisemites to target us for hate; and before that we had to endure years of antisemitism stirred up in the Labour Party.

CST’s recent report, Covid, Conspiracies & Jew-Hate: antisemitism in the Covid-19 conspiracy movement, revealed the extent to which the pandemic affected antisemitism in this country, as antisemitic conspiracy theories became more prevalent and Jews were blamed for this deadly virus.

Now, in the first six months of 2022, we can see what antisemitism looks like without any of these external influences affecting things.

The overall total has dropped from the record high of 2021: it had to, because the alternative was unthinkable.

Instead, 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.

Of course, we should never accept anti-Jewish hate as normal, and we know from bitter experience that the factors that caused it to rise in previous years can always return.

Now is the time to try to suppress any future rise, by targeting those spreading hate and educating wider society in how to resist it.

Dr. Dave Rich is Director of Policy at the Community Security Trust

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