Anti-Semitic hate incidents reach record levels, charity warns
Anti-Semitic hate incidents have reached a new record high in the UK, new figures show.
A report indicates that the Jewish community was targeted at a rate of nearly four times a day last year.
The Community Security Trust (CST), a charity which monitors anti-Semitism, recorded 1,382 anti-Semitic incidents nationwide in 2017.
This was the highest tally the organisation has registered for a calendar year since it began gathering the data in 1984.
The figure was up by 3% compared with 1,346 in 2016, which had itself been a record annual total.
There was no obvious single cause behind the trend, according to the CST.
Its assessment said: " Often increases in anti-Semitic incidents have been attributable to reactions to specific trigger events that cause identifiable, short-term spikes in incident levels.
"However, this was not the case in 2017. Instead, it appears that the factors that led to a general, sustained high level of anti-Semitic incidents in 2016 have continued throughout much of 2017."
The report pointed to a rise in all forms of hate crime after the EU referendum, as well as publicity surrounding alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
These factors may have caused higher levels of incidents as well as encouraging more reporting of anti-Semitic incidents from victims and witnesses in the Jewish community, the CST said.
Its figures showed:
- A 34% increase in the number of violent anti-Semitic assaults, from 108 in 2016 to 145 in 2017
- The most common single type of incident in 2017 involved verbal abuse randomly directed at Jewish people in public
- A fall in the number of incidents that involved social media, from 289 in 2016 to 247 last year
- Three-quarters of all the anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in Greater London and Greater Manchester, where the two largest Jewish communities in the UK are located.
CST chief executive David Delew said: "Hatred is rising and Jewish people are suffering as a result. This should concern everybody because it shows anger and division that threaten all of society.
"We have the support of Government and Police, but prosecutions need to be more visible and more frequent."
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said anti-Semitism is a "despicable form of abuse" which has "absolutely no place in British society".
She added: "I welcome this report's findings that the rise in reported incidents partly reflects the improving response to these horrendous attacks and better information sharing between the CST and police forces around the UK.
"But even one incident is one too many, and any rise in incidents is clearly concerning, which is why this Government will continue its work protecting the Jewish community and other groups from anti-Semitism and hate crime."
Shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne said: "The findings of this report are extremely concerning, and emphasise just how important it is that we all make a conscious effort to call out and confront anti-Semitism.
"Hate has no place in our country and we must root out anti-Semitism whenever and wherever it takes place."