Antisemitic reports in London hit new high, CST says

Reports of antisemitism in London reached their highest recorded level last month, according to figures from a Jewish safety charity.

The Community Security Trust (CST) said 201 incidents were reported in the capital in May – it said almost all of them were linked to the conflict in Israel and Gaza.

Twelve reports were linked to assaults and more than 160 to abusive behaviour.

The total exceeds the previous record when 179 were recorded, in July 2014.

Other offences recorded by the trust included 20 threats and seven cases relating to damage and desecration, making it the largest number recorded in one month since it started recording the numbers in the 1980s.

There are about 300,000 Jewish people in the UK with two-thirds of those located in London, according to the CST.

On 17 May, Community Secretary Robert Jenrick told the Commons there had been an upsurge in antisemitism on social media.
Then, the CST said there had been a fivefold increase in reports of anti-Semitic incidents since the escalation in tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, recording 86 anti-Semitic incidents, up from 16 in the previous 10 days.

In May, at least 256 people were killed in Gaza, according to the UN, and 13 people died in Israel amid the hostilities.

The CST’s Dave Rich said people “take out their feelings about the conflict with racist abuse on British Jews”.

“This abuse has nothing to do with Israel, it’s just racism directed towards Jewish people who are picked out on the streets, on the internet, because they are Jewish,” he said.

Alex Menashe and Joseph Cohen described walking home from a kosher restaurant in Baker Street, Marylebone, when they were approached by two men aged in their teens or 20s at about 17:00 BST on 23 May.

The pair said the men, believed to be Asian, followed them before screaming anti-Semitic abuse and pushing and punching them.

A member of the Muslim community confronted the men and offered the victims shelter, and the suspects ran off. Neither were injured.

“It was terrifying,” said Mr Cohen said of last month’s attack.

“I’ve walked around London dressed as an Orthodox Jew for years and never had any issues.

“Something feels different at the moment, there’s a wave of anti- Semitism. And it’s not just me. Most Jews that I know feel unsafe in a country we’ve lived in all our lives.
“It’s harrowing.”

The Met Police said it was investigating the incident.

Det Insp Kevin Eade said: “All Londoners should be able to live free from harassment or abuse.

“In this case two men from the Jewish community were assaulted, but it was the intervention of someone from another faith that helped stop the assault.”

The trust’s latest figures come a month after footage showed a pro-Palestinian group driving through a Jewish community in St John’s Wood in north-west London shouting antisemitic abuse from a megaphone.

Four men have been arrested and released on bail on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offences.


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