Anti-Semitic abuse at record high, says charity

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Protesters rally against anti-semitismImage source, Getty Images
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Protesters rally against anti-semitism

The number of anti-Semitic hate incidents recorded in the UK has reached a record high, Jewish charity the Community Security Trust says.

It recorded 1,805 anti-Semitic incidents last year, an increase of 7% on 2018's findings.

The charity, which also offers support to those affected, said there was a spike in online abuse.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the figures were "appalling" and promised to do more "to tackle anti-Semitism."

She pledged to push for "greater collaboration, both across government, policing, the courts and community groups, to remove this shameful stain on our society".

Last year was the fourth year in a row in which a record number of hate inspired episodes were recorded.

Last month saw the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz death camp.

Image source, Getty Images
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Protest against antisemitism in the Labour Party

Of the 1,805 incidents reported to the trust last year, 697 occurred online, an increase of 82% on 2018.

There was also a significant increase in the number of violent anti-Semitic assaults, which rose by 25%.

Almost two thirds of attacks occurred in Greater London (947) and Greater Manchester (223), which are home to the two largest Jewish communities in the UK.

The London Borough of Barnet, which has the largest Jewish population of any UK borough, reported the highest number of incidents, amounting to 18% of the national total.

The trust's chief executive, David Delew, said it was "no surprise" that recorded incidents had reached another high and argued that it was clear "social media and mainstream politics are places where anti-Semitism and racism need to be driven out, if things are to improve in the future".

The trust said that the highest number of reported incidents occurred in February and December and coincided with periods where alleged anti-Semitism within the Labour Party was the subject of sustained discussion and activity.

February 2019 saw the defection of several Labour MPs to the newly formed Independent Group, some of whom cited anger over the party's response to allegations of anti-Semitism as their reasons for leaving.

Similarly, December saw an intense focus on the issue of anti-Semitism during the general election campaign.

In total, the trust recorded 224 incidents which were related to the Labour Party. This represented an increase from the 148 incidents of this kind in 2018.

Image caption,
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn received heavy criticism for his handling of anti-Semitism allegations within his party

Responding to the report, Louise Haigh, vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, said that the data made for "depressing reading".

"It is shameful the Jewish community has been subjected to another year of racist abuse. We are beyond a stage of saying that more has to be done. We require immediate action."

She said she would work with colleagues and the trust to identify what more could be done.

The national policing lead for hate crime, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, said there were still "far too many people who act illegally, fuelled by global events, divisions in our society or historical bigotries".