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Sharp rise in UK antisemitic attacks since start of Gaza conflict

Friday 15 August 2014, by siawi3


Figures show hate crimes against Jewish people rose by 36% to 304 in first half of 2014, followed by 130 in July alone

Matthew Taylor, Friday 1 August 2014 17.29 BST

Photo: A menorah outside a synagogue: there were 27 attacks on Jewish property in the UK in the first half of 2014. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

Antisemitic hate crime rose by more than a third in the first six months of the year and spiked to a five-year high in July, figures show.

The Community Security Trust, which records attacks on the Jewish community in the UK, found there had been a 36% rise in the total number of antisemitic incidents, which include violent crime and vandalism, to 304 between January and June. This was followed by 130 incidents in July alone, which coincided with the Israeli military offensive in Gaza.

CST spokesman Mark Gardner said: “There is no excuse for this wave of racist intimidation and violence and we call upon all good people to unequivocally condemn it.”

The Israeli invasion of Gaza has so far left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead, many of them civilians, including children, and has led to widespread condemnation of Israel’s government.

The CST said many of the those carrying out the antisemitic attacks in the UK in the past few weeks referenced the situation in Gaza.

Nick Lowles, of Hope Not Hate, which helped organise support for British Muslims after the murder of the soldier Lee Rigby in London, said it was crucial to defend Jewish people.

“Fear is gripping Britain’s Jewish community but sadly few organisations have stepped forward to offer support, and some of those who have made statements have only done so after they have been asked,” Lowles said. “Whatever one’s views on the Gaza conflict, taking it out on Britain’s Jewish community is clearly wrong and more people need to start saying it.”

In the first six months of 2014, the CST recorded 304 antisemitic incidents across the UK, including 22 violent assaults, 27 attacks on property, 19 antisemitic threats, 232 incidents of abusive behaviour and four cases of mass produced antisemitic literature.

The number of violent attacks actually dropped between 2013-14. The overall rise in the first six months of this year was because of a big jump in the amount of abusive behaviour.

But as the conflict in the Middle East intensifies, John Mann, the chair of the all-party parliamentary group against antisemitism, said attacks on the Jewish community were only likely to get worse.

“This is troubling news and from the feedback we are receiving, it is likely that the volume of antisemitic incidents will increase significantly before the year’s end.”