UK sees ‘third highest number of anti-Semitic incidents’ for first half of year

Two Orthodox Jewish men chatting in Spitalfilds market, London. (Shutterstock)

By David Isaac, World Israel News

British Jewry experienced “the third-highest number of anti-Semitic incidents” in the first six months of the year, according to statistics compiled by the Community Security Trust (CST) and published on Thursday.

The CST is a British group started in 1994 to ensure the safety and security of the UK’s Jewish community.

The CST’s half-year report found 789 anti-Semitic incidents that were recorded between January and June of this year.

The report said that most, 673, were “verbal abuse, anti-Semitic graffiti, anti-Semitic abuse via social media and one-off cases of hate mail.”

Online incidents broke a record for CST’s half-yearly reports with 344 incidents.

Lord Mann, the government’s Independent Adviser on Antisemitism, said “Despite a good policing response, internet companies are failing to play their role in tackling this hatred and we need to see a robust consistency from all our political parties,” The Jewish Chronicle reported on Thursday.

If there is a silver lining, the number of anti-Semitic incidents were down — a drop of 13 per cent relative to the first six months of 2019.

According to the CST, the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, rather than any change in attitudes, explain the decline.

The CST said it was “likely” that the pandemic “contributed to the reduction in reports. The fact that over 100 incidents were recorded in five of the six months… sustains the pattern of historically high anti-Semitic incident figures.”

However, online conspiracy theories were up as a result of the coronavirus, the watchdog group said.

Conspiracy theories revolved around the idea that Jews invented the coronavirus “hoax” or created and spread the disease, “for various malevolent and financial purposes.” Others simply wished that Jews would “catch the virus and die,” the report said.

The agency noted it had also received reports of Zoombombing of Jewish online events by anti-Semites, a phenomenon well-covered by the media.