Reported antisemitic incidents in the U.K. were up 53 percent in the first half of 2015 as compared to the corresponding period the year before, the British Community Security Trust (CST) revealed in a new study.
The upward trend of recorded antisemitic incidents in 2015 was consistent with the past three years, with 473 events reported between January and June 2015, compared to 309 in 2014 and 223 incidents in 2013.
CST, a charity that oversees security efforts in Britain’s Jewish communities, said 44 of this year’s attacks were considered violent, with two of them constituting “extreme violence” or threat to life. But the overwhelming majority of incidents were the 353 cases of what the CST called “abusive behavior,” including hateful graffiti, antisemitic vituperation and abuse through social media or hate-mail. Thirty-five incidents included damage and desecration to Jewish property and 36 included direct antisemitic threats.
Notably, CST backed down however from expressing explicit concern at an actual rise in antisemitism, indicating that the uptick in recorded incidents seems to reflect more consternation among the Jewish community following deadly terrorist attacks in Paris at a kosher supermarket and Copenhagen at a synagogue in January.
“The 53 percent rise … is most likely to reflect more reporting of incidents, rather than a significant increase in the number of antisemitic incidents taking place … January [when the attacks took place] saw 106 antisemitic incidents reported to CST, the sixth-highest monthly total since CST began recording antisemitic incidents,” said the report.
Indeed, most polls show that antisemitic attitudes are much lower in the U.K. than other European countries such as France, Belgium or Germany.
British Home Secretary Theresa May welcomed CST’s efforts, saying the group “is encouraging that more people are coming forward as the under-reporting of hate crime is a real issue.”
Recently, the World Jewish Congress praised Prime Minister David Cameron for his pledged fight against Islamic extremism and anti-Semitism.