Anti-Semitic Incidents in U.K. at All-time High, Increasing for 4th Year in a Row

Almost half of the reported incidents were connected to Labour Party anti-Semitism which peaked during periods when allegations against the party were prominent in the news, report finds

Cnaan Liphshiz
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People look at anti-Semitic graffiti on a shop window in Belsize Park, North London, December 29, 2019.
People look at anti-Semitic graffiti on a shop window in Belsize Park, North London, December 29, 2019.Credit: Aaron Chown/AP
Cnaan Liphshiz

The number of anti-Semitic incidents documented in Britain increased for the fourth consecutive year in 2019, reaching a record tally of 1,805 cases.

Overall, the increase over 2018 was of 7 percent, but the category of assault increased by 27 percent to 157 incidents, the Community Security Trust, or CST, British Jewry’s largest watchdog on anti-Semitism, wrote in its annual report published Wednesday.

It’s the highest incident tally in the assault category ever reported to CST in a calendar year. Anti-Semitic vandalism rose by 11 percent to 88 cases.

Among the motives ascertained in 495 cases overall, Labour anti-Semitism accounted for 45 percent and the far right a quarter of them. Anti-Zionist and Islamist motives accounted for another 25 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively.

Incident peaks correlated with periods when discourse around Jews and anti-Semitism “was prominent in news and politics due to the continuing controversy over allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party,” CST wrote.

The perpetrators were described in 560 of the incidents. Of these, 67 percent were described as light-skinned Caucasians, 17 percent were said to be dark-skinned Caucasians, 13 percent were reported as black and 10 percent were said to be Arab.

“These proportions have fluctuated very little from 2018, and are broadly typical of a period without a significant trigger event from the Middle East,” CST wrote.

Marie van der Zyl, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, in a statement called the rise documented in the report “deeply depressing” and requiring counteraction. But, she added, “Britain remains a happy place for its Jewish community.”

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