U.K. anti-Semitic incidents reach highest level ever in 2014, watchdog says

The U.K. flag. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

(JNS.org) Anti-Semitic incidents in the United Kingdom reached their highest levels ever in 2014, according to a report by the British watchdog group Community Security Trust (CST). 

“CST recorded 1,168 anti-Semitic incidents in 2014, more than double the 535 anti-Semitic incidents recorded in 2013 and the highest annual total ever recorded by CST,” the report said. 

The group added that the largest contributing factor to the record numbers was the slew of anti-Semitic reactions to the conflict between Israel and Hamas last summer. In July, CST recorded 314 anti-Semitic incidents, followed by 228 such incidents in August. Eighty-one of those incidents were recorded as “violent anti-Semitic assaults,” with one incident categorized as “extreme violence,” meaning an incident that involved “grievous bodily harm or a threat to life.” 

“These attacks are not only an attack on British Jews, but an attack on all of us and our shared values. This is totally unacceptable. Those who perpetrate hate crimes of any kind will be punished with the full force of the law,” said Eric Pickles, British Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, The Guardian reported. 

According to two surveys released last month by the U.K.-based Jewish group Campaign Against Antisemitism, nearly 60 percent of British Jews think they do not have a long-term future in Europe, while nearly half of British adults hold some type of anti-Semitic sentiment. Those results were followed by a YouGov poll which found that Israel is one of the most disliked countries in the world by British people, with 35 percent of respondents saying they feel “unfavorable” towards the Jewish state. Thirty-three percent of respondents gave the “unfavorable” designation to Iran.

Addressing the rising anti-Semitism in Parliament on Wednesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that “we need to do everything we can to help this community feel safe and secure in our country.”

“I would hate it for British Jews not to feel that they have a home here in Britain—safe, secure and a vital part of our community,” Cameron said.

Posted on February 5, 2015 .