CST’s Antisemitic Incidents Report 2014, published today, shows a record number of antisemitic hate incidents were recorded in the UK last year.
CST recorded 1,168 antisemitic incidents across the country during 2014, more than double the 535 incidents recorded in 2013 and the highest annual total CST has ever recorded. A further 498 reports were received by CST, but were not deemed to be antisemitic and are not included in this total.
The full report can be downloaded from the CST website here and the Executive Summary can be read here.
CST has recorded antisemitic incidents in the UK since 1984. The previous highest annual total in that period came in 2009, when 931 antisemitic incidents were recorded by CST.
Antisemitic image distributed on UK social media, July 2014
Antisemitic reactions to the conflict in Israel and Gaza that took place in July and August 2014 were the single biggest factor in the 2014 record high. CST recorded 314 antisemitic incidents in the UK in July 2014, the highest monthly total ever recorded, and 228 incidents in August, the third-highest monthly total CST has recorded.
However, CST had already recorded a 38 per cent increase in incidents in the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013, and it is likely that 2014 would still have shown an increase in recorded antisemitic incidents even without the impact of reactions to the conflict in Israel and Gaza.
Antisemitic leaflet sent to synagogues in Birmingham, Liverpool and London, August 2014
The increase in antisemitic incidents in 2014 was recorded throughout the UK. Incidents increased by 137 per cent in Greater London and by 79 per cent in Greater Manchester. Beyond these two cities, CST received reports of antisemitic incidents from 89 different locations around the UK.
The 1,168 recorded antisemitic incidents included 81 violent antisemitic assaults, an increase of 17 per cent from the 69 antisemitic assaults recorded in 2013 and the highest number since 2011. One of these incidents was classified by CST as ‘Extreme Violence’, meaning it involved potential grievous bodily harm (GBH) or threat to life.
There were 81 incidents of Damage & Desecration of Jewish property in 2014; 884 incidents of Abusive Behaviour, including verbal abuse, antisemitic graffiti, antisemitic abuse via social media and one-off cases of hate mail; 92 direct antisemitic threats; and 30 cases of mass-mailed antisemitic leaflets or emails. All of these were increases on the 2013 totals.
Damaged gravestone at Blackley Cemetery, Manchester, June 2014
The most common single type of incident in 2014 involved verbal abuse randomly directed at visibly Jewish people in public. In 397 incidents, the victims were ordinary Jewish people, male or female, attacked or abused while going about their daily business in public places. In at least 190 of these incidents, the victims were visibly Jewish, usually due to their religious or traditional clothing, school uniform or jewellery bearing Jewish symbols.
CST recorded 233 antisemitic incidents that involved the use of social media to transmit antisemitic threats or abuse, compared to 88 such incidents in 2013. Incidents involving the use of social media are only recorded by CST if they have been reported by a member of the public who fulfils the role of a victim or witness; if the comment shows evidence of antisemitic content, motivation or targeting; and if the offender is based in the United Kingdom or has directly targeted a UK-based victim. CST is committed to working with social media companies to find ways to reduce the impact of online hate.
Antisemitic image posted on Twitter by a far right account in Wales, December 2014
CST Chief Executive David Delew said:
The Jewish community should not be defined by antisemitism but last year’s large increase in recorded incidents shows just how easily antisemitic attitudes can erupt into race hate abuse, threats and attacks. Thankfully most of the incidents were not violent but they were still shocking and upsetting for those who suffered them, and for the wider Jewish community. CST will keep working with our community, Police and politicians to find ways to reduce antisemitic hate crime, and to better prosecute and convict those who carry it out.
Home Secretary Theresa May MP said:
I am absolutely clear that everyone in this country, including members of Britain’s Jewish community, should be able to live their lives free from racial and religious hatred and harassment. No one should live in fear because of their beliefs or who they are. These figures are deeply concerning and I am committed to working with Jewish community leaders and law enforcement to tackle antisemitism. As I told the Board of Deputies recently, Britain without its Jews would not be Britain. Under-reporting of hate crime is a real issue, and I welcome the work of CST in recording and publishing antisemitic incident reports. We are in regular contact with CST, and will continue to work in close partnership. There is still some way to go, but we are listening, and we are taking robust action against antisemitism wherever we find it.
Secretary of State for Communities Eric Pickles MP said:
Antisemitism and hate crimes of any kind are unacceptable and completely incompatible with traditional British values. The Jewish community is an important part of British life and these attacks are not only an attack on British Jews, but an attack on all of us and on our shared values of fairness, tolerance and respect. Over the past year, Britain has seen an increase in the number of antisemitic incidents including acts of intimidation, online abuse and physical violence. Cemeteries have been desecrated and the walls of Jewish homes daubed with vile and offensive graffiti. This is totally unacceptable. The government has introduced a range of measures to ensure Britain provides a safe environment for Jewish people and these figures are a depressing reminder that there is still much work to be done. We remain staunchly committed to tackling antisemitism wherever it occurs and will continue to take a zero-tolerance approach. Those who perpetrate hate crimes of any kind will be punished with the full force of the law.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper MP said:
This important report must serve as a warning to everyone to do more to stop antisemitism in Britain. This rise in antisemitism is appalling and completely unacceptable. The Community Security Trust does vital work to protect and provide security for the Jewish community. We must support them not only to raise the profile of this issue, but also to ensure continued close working with the police so that hate crimes can be investigated and prosecuted and communities can be kept safe. But more also needs to be done to stop prejudice and hatred in the first place – from promoting common values in schools and communities, to getting companies like Twitter to take stronger action against hate crimes on their platforms, and from challenging those who use foreign policy to spread discrimination and hostility, to renewed determination to tackle both Islamist and far right extremism.
John Mann MP, Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism said:
Every decent person in Britain will be shocked and concerned to read these CST statistics. It is simply unacceptable that Jewish people are being abused in this way. Together with CST, we have been warning of this and it is now time for people to take the action that we’ve been recommending. Next week, together with other parliamentarians I will be setting out a detailed plan for how we will meet the challenge of rising antisemitism head on.
Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan, National Police Lead for Jewish Communities, said:
The recent events in Paris are a reminder to all of us here in the UK that if we tolerate people being targeted because of their race, religion or even how they look the consequences are catastrophic. This increase in antisemitic incidents recorded by CST, correlates to increases in antisemitic crimes reported to police over recent weeks. Antisemitic hate crimes weaken our communities by causing division where we need unity and by spreading unease and fear. It is crucial that anyone experiencing antisemitic abuse, threats or criminality must report them either to the police or through CST. At this difficult time the police in the UK are working hard to bring all communities together to keep us all safe, to achieve that we must stamp out and take action to stop hate crime to bring an end to antisemitism.