Anti-Semitism is on the rise in the UK where the number of anti-Semitic hate crimes has more than doubled in some areas over the last year. The increase coincides with two serious anti-Semitic attacks in Europe: the killing of hostages at a Paris kosher supermarket in January by the same group that carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and a month later, the murder of a Jewish man outside a synagogue in Copenhagen.
Both the Metropolitan Police, which covers London, and Greater Manchester Police force have seen a massive increase in anti-Semitism, while the Community Security Trust (CST), a charity set up to monitor anti-Semitism in Britain, has also recorded a more than 50 per cent rise in incidents.
Merseyside, West Midlands and West Yorkshire Police forces, which cover areas with large Muslim populations, also recorded significant increases in anti-Semitism, although in other parts of the country the tally remained stable, or even fell moderately.
According to the Daily Mail, the crimes recorded included assault, harassment, arson and criminal damage.
The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has said that anti-Semitism has “absolutely no place in Britain”, adding: “Those who seek to spread anti-Semitic hatred should know that the Government will act against those who seek to divide our country and sow discord.”
Her colleague, Communities Minister Baroness Williams said: “Anti-Semitism and hate crimes of any sort are not only vile, wrong and totally unacceptable in our society, but they are also an affront to the British values that we hold dear.
“Whilst one anti-Semitic incident is one too many, it is positive that members of the Jewish community now feel more able to speak out against these pernicious crimes knowing that their Government will act decisively to protect them.”
Figures obtained by Freedom of Information request from the Metropolitan Police show that in 2013/14, 134 anti-Semitic crimes were reported across London, where a large proportion of Britain’s Jews live. That figure rose substantially to 459 in 2014/15, an increase of 138 per cent.
The picture was similar in Greater Manchester, another hub of British Jewry, where the 82 offences recorded in 2013/14 more than doubled to 172 in 2014/15.
Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “The international picture of increasing hostility and tension towards the Jewish community is no doubt having an influence in the UK.”
Over the last year or so, Jews from across Europe, fearing for their safety, have been moving in increasing numbers to Israel and the US. In February, Breitbart London quoted Honey Gould, a Jewish wife and mother who was moving to Arizona with her husband and two children: “I know there are plenty of people who simply want to live a peaceful coexistence,” she said, “but there is so much anti‑Semitism in Britain, and it’s coming from all sides.
“Our local Jewish schools look like prison camps. They’re surrounded by wire fences. There are guards on patrol, some with dogs. On Saturdays, you see police walking the street with members of the CST. I don’t want to sit at home panicking when my husband goes to the synagogue. I just want to live in peace.”
The picture is similar across Europe. This summer alone, 3,000 French Jews are expected to make Aliyah (move to Israel), joining the 3,142 who have already migrated this year. Last year saw approximately 7,200 French Jews migrating to Israel, a sharp increase on the 1,064 who relocated in 2013.
A recent poll commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also found a marked increase in concern about violence against Jews in Germany, Belgium and France.
Back in the UK, the CST, which was set up to monitor British anti-Semitism has recorded an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period last year. 2014 saw the highest ever total of incidents in a year – 1,174 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in all.
In January to June 2015, the CST recorded 473 incidents, up 53 per cent from the 309 recorded in the first half of 2014. That in itself constituted a 38 per cent increase from the same period in the previous year. A further 333 reported were not included in the total as they were deemed not to be anti-Semitic.
The crimes recorded included 44 violent anti-Semitic assaults, two of which were classified as ‘Extreme Violence’, meaning that they involved grievous bodily harm (GBH) or a threat to life; 35 incidents of damage and desecration of Jewish property; 36 direct anti-Semitic threats; 5 cases of mass-mailed anti-Semitic leaflets or emails; and 353 incidents of abusive behaviour, including verbal abuse, anti-Semitic graffiti, anti-Semitic abuse via social media and one-off cases of hate-mail.
The CST noted that the increase owes as much to the increasing willingness of Jews to report anti-Semitic attacks, both to the Police and to themselves, as it does to global events which may have prompted anti-Semitism.
Chief executive David Delew said: “The terrorist attacks on European Jews earlier this year, following the high levels of anti-Semitism in 2014, were a difficult and unsettling experience for our Jewish community. We welcome the apparent increase in reporting of anti-Semitic incidents, but regret the concern and anxiety about anti-Semitism that this reflects.”