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article imageAnti-Semitic incidents at record high in U.K.

By Chris Dade     Feb 5, 2010 in Crime
A U.K. charity dedicated to monitoring attacks against the country's Jewish community and advising members of the community on how they might protect themselves has reported that anti-Semitic incidents were at a record high in the U.K. in 2009.
The figures released in recent days by the Community Security Trust (CST) reveal that 924 anti-Semitic incidents, including 124 violent assaults, occurred in the U.K. last year, an increase of 69 percent on 2008 and, says the Independent, the highest number of incidents on an annual basis since the CST began keeping records in 1984.
Violent assaults increased 41 percent from 2008 and were also at a record high. Non-violent incidents typically included the spraying of graffiti.
Furthermore the first half of 2009 saw more anti-Semitic incidents - the CST considers such incidents to be "any malicious act aimed at Jewish people, organisations or property, where there is evidence that the act has anti-Semitic motivation or content, or the victim was targeted because they are (or are believed to be) Jewish" - than in any given calendar year since 1984.
And public anger at the Israeli invasion of Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead, in January 2009 is allegedly the reason for the rise in the number of incidents, 23 percent of which made reference to the conflict in the Hamas-controlled territory.
2006 was the year which previously saw the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents, 598, in the U.K., and that too was a year in which Israel was involved in considerable military activity, July 2006 being the month in which the Israel Defence Forces began attacking Lebanon in response to attacks on Israeli citizens by Hizbollah.
The London Evening Standard detailed some of the anti-Semitic incidents that took place shortly after Israel invaded Gaza in the early part of January 2009 and responding to incidents that included "An attempt to burn down a synagogue in north-west London" and "An assault on a Jewish motorist who was pulled from his car and punched" CST spokesman Mark Gardner said at the time:There has been a significant rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents, especially when compared with what is usually a very quiet time of year for racist, anti-Jewish attacks. It is a pattern with which we and police are now sadly familiar, whereby hysteria is whipped up against Israel: and British Jews then suffer a wave of anti-Semitism
With regard to the figures made public by his organization more recently Mr Gardner commented:These record figures show that anti-Semitism is an increasingly significant problem for British Jews. The trend must be reversed and we call upon decent people to speak out against anti-Semitism in all its forms
While the Independent confirms that areas in North London and Greater Manchester, where there are significant Orthodox or Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities, saw the greatest number of physical assaults the Daily Express reports that Jewish children and Jewish schools increasingly found themselves targeted by those with anti-Semitic views. In total there were 98 incidents at schools.
Describing himself as "a proud friend of Israel", but stating too that he would "welcome a robust debate about how we ensure both a secure Israel and a viable Palestinian state existing side by side" British Prime Minister Gordon Brown explained:Anti-Semitism is one of the most ancient of hatreds, and yet it constantly adapts to modern times, requiring ever-greater vigilance from all of us who are determined to stand up for tolerance and for the truth. Whether online, on campus or on the streets there is absolutely no place for racism or discrimination of any sort and the Community Security Trust has my whole-hearted support in its work with the police and the Jewish community
More about Gaza strip, Anti-Semitic, United Kingdom
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