Attacks against Jewish people in the UK have reached “unprecedented” levels, according to the Community Security Trust.
The Community Security Trust (CST), a charity that monitors antisemitism in the UK, recorded 767 hate crimes in the first six months of 2017 – a 30% rise in comparison to the same period last year. This is the highest level ever recorded since monitoring began 33 years ago.
CST chief executive David Delew said the figures were “now almost twice as bad as five years ago.”
He added: “Anti-Semitism is having an increasing impact on British Jews and hatred and anger that lies behind it is spreading.”
The report Antisemitic Incidents reveals that more than 70% of the incidents were recorded in Greater London and Greater Manchester, which hold the two largest Jewish communities in the UK.
The antisemitic acts included physical assaults, verbal abuse, vandalism and online hatred. Almost half of the incidents consisted of verbal abuse, with pedestrians often targeted from passing cars.
“I am clear that one such incident is one too many, and we will continue to do everything we can to stamp out the hatred and division that blights our communities,” said Home Secretary Amber Rudd.
She added that the Government was working to improve reporting of incidents and had renewed its £13.4 million security funding to protect Jewish sites, and is providing £900,000 for innovative schemes to tackle various other types of hate crime.
The CST admits part of the rise in antisemitic incidents may be due to better reporting by victims and improved coordination with the police.
Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan, who is the National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Anti-Semitic Issues, said: “There is never any excuse for abuse, racism or hate crime. Police forces take our responsibility to protect people from harm and promote cohesion seriously.”
More than half of the perpetrators were described as white European with only five percent described as Arab or North African. This is broadly typical when there is no “trigger event” in the Middle East, according to the CST report.
The spike in hate crimes in 2014 was attributed to Israeli military action in Gaza which served as the “trigger event”. However, no such event occurred on this occasion.
Instead, the CST believes there was a “cumulative effect of a series of events and factors that, taken together, have created an atmosphere in which more antisemitic incidents are occurring.”
Factors include the spate of terrorist attacks in Europe and a perceived increase in racism following Brexit.