Anti-Semitic hate crime in the UK has hit record levels in the first half of this year, according to reports from a Jewish charity.
The Community Security Trust (CST), a group that has tracked and monitored hate crime against the Jewish community for 30 years, say that they received 767 reports of incidents between January and June this year – a worrying 30 percent increase when compared to the same time period last year.
Out of all these reported incidents, a total of 80 involved physical attacks – up from 45 last year. David Delew, the chief executive of CST, said: “The hatred and anger that lies behind it is spreading.”
The charity also received reports of 568 incidents of verbally abusive behaviour; such as Jewish people being shouted at in the street for wearing clothing associated with their religion.
They also received a further 51 incidents of damage to property – up from 32 in 2016 – and 56 anti-semitic threats, were recorded, including threats involving knives, bats, sticks or vehicles. They also received 12 cases of mass-mailed, anti-semitic materials both online and in print.
Alex Chapper, a rabbi from east London, described the moment he became the victim of a hate crime in 2012. He was walking to his synagogue in Ilford when some men started to hurl abuse directed at him. “It’s almost like I’m kind of used to it, it’s not a nice feeling,” he says. Although, he also argued that most of the time “the Jewish community go about their daily lives without fear or worry”.
Mr Delew argued that, although the spike could be related to improved methods of reporting these types of crime, it is “sadly clear that the overall situation has deteriorated”. He added: “Anti-Semitism is having an increasing impact on the lives of British Jews and the hatred and anger that lies behind it is spreading.”
Garry Shewan, Assistant Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester Police, is also concerned about the rise in reported anti-semitism. He urged victims to come forward if they are targeted.
“There is never any excuse for abuse, racism or hate crime,” he says. “I want to encourage anyone who is targeted in this way to report it to their local police – you will be listened to, taken seriously and officers will do all they can to bring offenders to justice.”
These shocking statistics should be met with concern by everyone, regardless of ethnicity or religious beliefs. Why? Because an attack on any religion is an attack on all of us. It’s an attack on freedom to practice religion and an attack on our multicultural society as a whole.
In the face of such attacks, it is essential that we stick together in solidarity and send out a forceful and explicit message: We will not put up with this behaviour; it is not in line with society’s norms and values, the perpetrators are in the minority and there will be legal repercussions for those who choose to follow this path of hate.
Have you seen a hate crime take place? If so, why let them get away with it? Ring the police on 101.