Antisemitism in London soared during Gaza fighting, police say

87 incidents reported in capital amid the 11-day conflict; 116 cases registered across UK, according to the Jewish group Community Security Trust

Illustrative: Ultra-Orthodox Jews in the Stamford Hill section of London. (CC BY-dcaseyphoto/Flickr)
Illustrative: Ultra-Orthodox Jews in the Stamford Hill section of London. (CC BY-dcaseyphoto/Flickr)

LONDON — Police recorded around four times as many antisemitic incidents in London during May’s war between Israel and Gaza than at any time in the last three years, the city’s force said Thursday.

They reported 87 antisemitic incidents, 65 more than the previous highest monthly figure recorded since they began reporting the data in May 2018, London Metropolitan Police told Britain’s Press Association news agency.

During 11 days in May, Palestinian terror groups in Gaza fired thousands of rockets at Israeli cities, killing 13.The Israeli Air Force responded with strikes that killed 253 Palestinians, the majority of them combatants according to the Israeli military.

Disturbances also broke out in the West Bank, and between Jewish and Arab citizens in Israel amid the conflict, which sparked protests across the world.

The crisis had repercussions for Jews in London, where the word “Hitler” was written on the ceiling in an apartment building, and rocks were hurled at a Jewish home.

One resident in north London’s Stamford Hill neighborhood, which has a significant Hasidic Jewish community, said the tires of more than 30 Jewish-owned cars were slashed.

The Community Security Trust (CST), a charity that protects British Jews from antisemitism, said 116 incidents across Britain had been reported in an 11-day period from May 8.

In May, police arrested four people after footage emerged showing them shouting antisemitic abuse from a car.

Two men were also charged in connection with an incident when a rabbi was struck on the head with a concrete brick near his synagogue.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the time condemned the “intolerable” spate of antisemitic incidents in a meeting with British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has increased police patrols in Jewish neighborhoods.

The CST recorded 1,668 anti-Semitic incidents in the UK in 2020 — its third-highest annual figure — and 1,813 in 2019.

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