Anti-Semitism has always been an unfortunate reality which the Jewish community have sadly have had to battle against. However, in 2018 the reality is that anti-Semitism is on the rise. CST (Community Security Trust) – the hate crime reporting body for anti-Semitic crimes in the UK which has been operating as a UK-registered charity since 1994 – recorded a staggering 1,382 anti-Semitic incidents in 2017.
This figure is in fact the highest annual total that CST has ever recorded and shows a 3% rise from 2016 – which at the time concluded a record annual total. The third highest total was back in 2014 when CST recorded a total 1,182 anti-Semitic incidents during the Israeli-Gaza conflict. So, for communities in Greater London and Greater Manchester in particular – the two largest Jewish communities in the UK – anti-Semitism is a real threat. Three-quarters of anti-Semitic incidents take place in these two areas and although communities are reporting anti-Semitic hate crime, it’s likely that other incidents are going unreported. In a survey back in 2013 measuring anti-Semitism in the EU, 72% of British Jews who had experienced anti-Semitic harassment over the past five years had not reported these incidents to the police or relevant organisation.
Assaults in particular are on the rise which is particularly worrying , although thankfully this excludes extreme violence, whilst verbal abuse continues to remain a real reality for communities across the UK. Just take a look at the figures based on figures from last year recorded by CST:
Anti-Semitism on our streets
Based on the same figures, here’s some examples taken (quoted) directly from the latest (2017) CST report explaining what’s happening to our Jewish brothers and sisters across the UK.
1. Abusive behaviour
- A Jewish man was on the underground when a group of men started chanting and shouting, “Jew boy”, “F**king Jew boy”, and “We’re running around Tottenham with our willies hanging out, I’ve got more foreskin than you, F**king Jew”. The group then made a prolonged hissing noise to mimic Nazi gas chambers. (London, May)
- A Jewish organisation received a tweet that read: “The Holocaust is fake history.” (London, August)
- Hate mail was sent to multiple Jewish organisations. The hate mail was 18 pages long and consisted of images and text relating to conspiracy theories about Jewish domination. (London, February)
- At Cambridge, Edinburgh and Glasgow universities, the London School of Economics and University College London, leaflets denying and belittling the Holocaust were distributed on campus. These leaflets were found pinned onto students’ and academics’ cars, as well as inside university buildings.
- A man hurled a glass bottle towards a group of visibly Jewish teenage girls. As the bottle smashed and the girls ran for cover, he chased after them and shouted, “Hitler is a good man, good he killed Jews.” (London, August)
- A visibly Jewish boy was confronted at his home by a group of boys who then proceeded to grab and push him on the ground whilst shouting abuse, including “F**king Jew” and “You’re different.” (Hertfordshire, October)
- A Jewish couple received threatening hate mail through their door. A week before this occurred, in a separate incident, their mezuzah (Jewish prayer doorpost) had been removed from their front door and burnt. (London, March)
- A visibly Jewish woman was walking in public when a group of men acting in an aggressive and intimidating manner, shouted: “Let’s go after the Jews. Look there’s one.” (London, July)
5. Damage and desecration to Jewish property
- A Jewish restaurant was vandalised in a targeted attack, by a man who smashed the window and threw in a home-made fire bomb. (Manchester, June)
- Graffiti that read “F**k Yids” was found on the entrance to a Jewish school. (London, August)
Shocked? Surprised that these disgusting incidents are happening in our towns and on our streets? Well this is the real reality that Jewish communities across the UK are living with. We must stand up and speak out – from the visible public incidents of harassment to even the smallest slyest remark online. Either we stand for everyone or we stand for nothing as was once famously said. Both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are on the rise and we must work together as a society to help put this quite frankly sick behaviour to an end.
To find out more information on CST and anti-Semitism in the UK, you can visit CST’s website and social media channels: Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels. And finally, I urge you: get to know your Jewish neighbours. Take a course, visit a synagogue, join an interfaith group. Remember: we are stronger together. As the late Jo Cox said: “We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”
Salam, shalom, peace ♡
Credits and acknowledgement:
I’d like to thank CST for their assistance in compiling this blog. All information and statistics taken from CST’s latest incident report: CST (2017) Antisemitic Incidents, Report 2017