Number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain falls

Reuters News
|
Posted: Feb 03, 2016 7:04 PM

LONDON (Reuters) - The number of anti-Semitic incidents reported in Britain dropped by a fifth last year, although the figure was still the third-highest on record, a Jewish advisory body said on Thursday.

The Community Security Trust (CST), which advises Britain's estimated 260,000 Jews on security matters, said there were 924 incidents during 2015, including 86 violent assaults.

The overall figure was a 22 percent reduction from the 1,168 anti-Semitic incidents in 2014, a record level which the CST had attributed to a reaction to fighting in the Middle East involving Israeli forces and Palestinians.

CST Chief Executive David Delew said the fall was welcome but the number was still "unacceptably high".

"The Jewish community has a right to expect anti-Semitism to be opposed wherever it occurs," he said in a statement. "It should have no place in our society."

Jews across Europe have warned of a rising tide of anti-Semitism, fueled by anger at Israeli policy in the Middle East while far-right movements have gained popularity because of tensions over immigration.

Fears have been exacerbated by last year's attack on a Jewish supermarket in Paris by an Islamist gunman which killed four people and a deadly shooting at a synagogue in Copenhagen.

According to a survey last January, a quarter of Jews have considered leaving Britain in the last two years and well over half feel they have no long term future in Europe.

In its report the CST, which began recording anti-Semitic occurrences in 1984, said most of the British incidents involved random verbal abuse, and three-quarters had taken place in areas in or around London or Manchester in northwest England, home to Britain's largest Jewish communities.

The CST said it suspected many incidents were still not reported to the organization or the police.

"While a fall in anti-Semitic incidents should be welcomed, there are still too many cases of this type of hate crime," Home Secretary (interior minister) Theresa May said.

"We also know that these types of crimes are often under-reported. We must give victims the confidence to coming forward to report these terrible acts."

(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison)