Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party has been targeted as a key driver behind a record number of attacks on Jewish people across the UK in 2018.
A total of 1,652 incidents, a 16 percent increase on 2017, were logged in 2018 by the Community Security Trust (CST), which has monitored anti-Semitism for 35 years and provides security to the UK Jewish community.
The attacks included anti-Semitic beatings, verbal abuse in public, and damage and desecration of Jewish property such as painting Nazi swastikas on synagogues. The CST said there was “no sudden trigger” for the record high. But it warned: “The highest single monthly totals came when the problem of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party was the subject of intense discussion and activity.”
CST chief executive David Delew said he was alarmed by what the report revealed:
Three years of rising anti-Semitic incidents shows the scale of the problem facing the Jewish community. This is happening across society and across the country and it reflects deepening divides in our country and our politics.
The CST defines an anti-Semitic incident as any malicious act aimed at Jewish people, organisations or property, which shows evidence of antisemitic motivation, language or targeting.
The report found the most common single type of incident involved verbal abuse directed at Jewish people in public.
In 224 instances last year the victims wore “religious or traditional clothing, school uniform or jewellery bearing Jewish symbols.”
But Jewish people are also being targeted on social media, with 384 recorded incidents – up 23 percent. However, the problem is likely to be worse because the CST only collated cases where the offender was based in the UK.
Mr. Corbyn, the socialist MP for Islington North, and his fellow left-wing Labour members have been engulfed in claims of anti-Semitism for the past three years.
As far back as 2016 Mr. Corbyn appointed human rights activist Shami Chakrabarti to investigate and defuse allegations of institutionalised anti-Semitism in the party.
Chakrabarti revealed at a press conference the following July that her investigation had concluded that “the Labour Party is not overrun by anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or other forms of racism.”
She was elevated to the House of Lords soon after.
Her findings stand in clear contrast to the latest CST report which also revealed a letter from those who described themselves as “Corbyn supporters” calling Luciana Berger a “nasty, stinking, lying, Zionist Jew-b*tch.” Mr. Corbyn has also faced questions of his own about links to figures from militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
Recent polls reveal that British Jews are fleeing the Labour Party in droves, with the Antisemitism Barometer finding last year that four in five Jews believe that the party harbours anti-Semites in its ranks.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said acts of anti-Semitism are “utterly despicable and have no place in society.”
“The Jewish community should not have to tolerate these attacks and we are doing all we can to rid society of these poisonous views,” he added.
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