Incidents of anti-Semitism in the UK have seen a significant increase since the recent conflict involving Hamas and Israel, as reported by an organization providing assistance to the Jewish community in the UK.
The Community Security Trust (CST) documented 89 cases of “anti-Jewish hate” between October 7th and 10th. This marked a four-fold increase compared to the 21 anti-Semitic incidents recorded during the same period the previous year.
Tom Tugendhat, the Security Minister, expressed deep concern over the rise in anti-Semitism. Additionally, the Metropolitan Police wrote an open letter to London’s Jewish community, conveying their support and solidarity.
The CST reported that out of the 89 incidents, six involved physical assaults, three pertained to damage inflicted on Jewish property, and 66 were related to abusive behavior, with 22 occurring online.
Some examples of these incidents include:
- An incident in London where a Jewish individual heading to a synagogue on a Sunday morning was subjected to derogatory remarks, being called a “dirty Jew” by a stranger who made offensive comments.
- In another London case, a car slowed down outside a synagogue, and the occupants shouted “Kill Jews” and “Death to Israel” while waving a Palestinian flag.
The CST emphasized that these are unequivocally anti-Semitic racist incidents and hate crimes, targeting Jewish individuals, property, and institutions. The attacks sometimes included death threats and abusive language. Furthermore, the perpetrators often exploited the symbols and rhetoric associated with pro-Palestinian politics as tools for threatening and abusing Jewish people.
The rise in anti-Semitism in the UK is a matter of utmost seriousness, as stated by Mr. Tugendhat, who called for a crackdown on the spread of hatred. He drew parallels between the ideology of Hamas and that of the Nazis during the 1930s and 40s, highlighting their use of blood libel and hatred towards Jews.
Earlier in the week, Home Secretary Suella Braverman called on police chiefs to increase patrols to prevent anti-Semitic disturbances following the events related to Israel.
Due to growing concerns about potential anti-Semitic incidents targeting children, Jewish schools in London and Manchester have heightened security measures. Some students have been advised not to wear blazers in public places to avoid easy identification as Jewish.
The Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Dame Lynne Owens, reassured London’s Jewish community through an open letter. She pledged to do everything possible to ensure their safety and protection, vowing to take action against religiously motivated abuse or intimidation in the city. Dame Lynn also emphasized that support for the Palestinian cause, broadly speaking, should not automatically be equated with support for proscribed groups like Hamas or the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, both of which are classified as terrorist organizations in the UK.