The Israeli army’s incursion into Gaza in January this year triggered a dramatic rise in death threats and attacks on the UK’s Jewish population, according to figures released today by a leading Jewish organisation.
The number of attacks on Jews and Jewish property in the UK in the first half of this year is double the number recorded in the same period last year. Six hundred and nine attacks were recorded by the Community Security Trust (CST), the voluntary organisation which has worked since 1984 with the police to monitor anti-Semitic incidents. Incidents include hate mail sent to rabbis calling for a ‘return to the gas ovens’, swastikas daubed outside synagogues, and verbal abuse directed at Jews.
On 16th January, the day Israeli shells hit a United Nations compound in Gaza, 22 incidents of graffiti slogans including ‘Kill the Jews’ and ‘Jihad 4 Israel’ were reported across London. This appears to be an orchestrated campaign.
Sixty-six incidents were targeted at synagogues, 17 were aimed at people travelling to and from a synagogue, and 48 involved Jewish schools and pupils. There were 89 incidents affecting Jewish students or academics, with 7 incidents at Queen Mary, University of London.
The Community Security Trust attempts to record the ethnicity of the perpetrators of anti-Semitic attacks, but recognises this is a difficult task. Using the IC1-6 system used by the police, with IC1 meaning ‘white’, IC3 meaning ‘black’, IC4 meaning ‘Asian’, and so on, the figures out today suggest that 36 per cent of attackers were white, 37 per cent were ‘Asian’ and 17 per cent were ‘Arab’ in appearance to the victims and other witnesses.
Today’s report suggests that organised groups of white racists, and Islamist extremists, are using events in the Middle East, and the actions of the Israeli government, as the excuse to attack Britain’s Jews.
All prejudice based on race, ethnicity or religion is repugnant to Labour Party members. Using Israeli government policy as cover for attacks on Jewish communities in Britain is merely a new form of the oldest hatred. Jews in London, Manchester, Leeds or any other part of Britain are not personally responsible for what goes on in the Middle East. By their meticulous recording of data, and by drawing attention to the scale, nature and alleged perpetrators of anti-Semitism, the CST provides an invaluable service to all anti-racists and anti-fascists.