Hate crimes against Jews up sharply in Britain, audit finds

Campaign Against Antisemitism group reports a 50% increase in violent incidents, and a fall in the number of suspects charged

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Young Jewish men fend off a gang trying to force their way into a London synagogue during a violent confrontation, March 22, 2015. (screen capture: YouTube/Vos9es's)
Young Jewish men fend off a gang trying to force their way into a London synagogue during a violent confrontation, March 22, 2015. (screen capture: YouTube/Vos9es's)

A report on anti-Semitism in Britain published Sunday found that hate crimes against Jews rose sharply in the past two years, with a 50 percent increase in violent crimes, while police have been charging fewer perpetrators.

The National Antisemitic Crime Audit from the non-governmental group Campaign Against Antisemitism said that nearly 1,000 incidents were reported in 2015, representing a 25.7% increase in anti-Jewish crimes on 2014, and making it the worse year on record.

Data collected from all of the country’s police forces showed that during 2014, UK police forces recorded 746 anti-Semitic crimes; that figure rose to 938 in 2015.

Violent crime jumped to 196 incidents, a 50.8% rise, in 2015 and accounted for 20.3% all crime against Jews, compared to just 126 incidents representing 16.9% of violent crimes the year before.

However, “despite the growth in antisemitic crime, police forces charged 7.2% fewer cases in 2015 than in 2014, meaning that only 13.6% of cases resulted in charges being brought,” the CAA said. In total 138 charges were brought in 2014, but just 128 in 2015.

The CAA report came amid a rising tide of anti-Semitic outbursts by British Labour party members, including most recently Ken Livingstone, who was suspended from the party on Thursday for declaring and continuing to insist that Adolf Hitler was initially a Zionist.

“This data should alarm those responsible for enforcing the law: they are failing British Jews badly,” the chairman of the CAA, Gideon Falter, warned. “If the situation continues to deteriorate, the Jewish community will be faced with the kind of rampant anti-Semitism seen in other European countries, which has left Jews feeling fearful and abandoned, many of them convinced that they have no choice but to emigrate.”

The report noted that while in 2014 crimes peaked during July, August, and November — the months during and following the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip — there was no similar spike in 2015, when crime levels remained high throughout the year. There were about twice as many incidents per month in 2015 as there were during any given month in the first half of 2014, before the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas fighting, said the CAA, a group formed two years ago with the stated mission to empower “individuals to counter antisemitism.”

“Expectations that antisemitic crime would gradually return to levels seen prior to the 2014 war in Gaza were proved incorrect,” the CAA reported. “Instead, a consistently elevated level of antisemitic crime was established as the new normality for British Jews.”

The CAA found that out of 45 police forces surveyed, only eight did not record an increase in antisemitic crime from 2014 to 2015.

Smaller Jewish communities fared worse than the larger communities centered in London and Manchester, it also established. Based on a 2011 census, 64.3% of British Jews live within the areas policed by the Metropolitan Police Service, City of London Police and Greater Manchester Police, the CAA noted, but 49.4% of violent anti-Semitic crime in 2015 was reported by communities outside of London and Manchester.

“The results speak for themselves,” the CAA said. “Antisemitic crime is climbing fast, violence against Jews is soaring, and the police response is gradually getting worse.”

“The most likely explanation for such a large growth in anti-Semitic violence is the increasing evidence of anti-Semitism being used as a core component of the violent ideologies of Islamism and neo-Nazism, both of which continue to gain adherents,” the CAA opined. “Whilst Islamists and neo-Nazis agree on little, they both agree that Jews are their enemy and must be violently oppressed.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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