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UK anti-Semitism slightly down from 2017 record — watchdog

Number of incidents flagged by Community Security Trust in first half of 2018 still second-highest ever

Illustrative: A truck with the words 'fuck off' and another with swastika graffiti on it were found outside a Jewish school in a Hasidic neighborhood in London, November 14, 2016. (Shomrim N.E. London/Twitter)
Illustrative: A truck with the words 'fuck off' and another with swastika graffiti on it were found outside a Jewish school in a Hasidic neighborhood in London, November 14, 2016. (Shomrim N.E. London/Twitter)

British Jewry’s main watchdog on anti-Semitism recorded 727 hate incidents in the first half of 2018, the second-highest six-monthly total on record.

The report by the Community Security Trust, or CST, for this year’s first six months constitutes an 8-percent drop from the corresponding period last year, CST said in the document published Thursday.

In the first half of 2017, CST recorded 786 incidents, constituting the highest total CST has ever recorded during any six months since the organization began monitoring incidents in 2984. During that entire year, a total of 1,414 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded — the highest tally so far.

British media have devoted unprecedented attention to anti-Semitism since 2015, following the election of Jeremy Corbyn to lead the Labour party. A hard left-wing politician, he has called Hezbollah and Hamas his friends and has defended an anti-Semitic mural in 2013, among other scandals involving his party’s policies on anti-Semitism.

The previous leader of the Board of Deputies of British Jews accused Corbyn of having “views that are anti-Semitic” and the current leader has said Corbyn’s party is trying to whitewash its anti-Semitism problem, for which the board holds Corbyn partly responsible. Corbyn has vowed to kick out any Labour member caught making anti-Semitic statements.

Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks in London on June 30, 2018. (AFP Photo/Tolga Akmen)

However, the issue of anti-Semitism in the Labour party appeared explicitly on only 34 incidents in the first six months of 2018, CST said.

During that period, CST documented 59 physical anti-Semitic assaults. This figure is 26 percent lower than the 80 assaults recorded in the first half of 2017.

One assault incident occurred in Sussex, where an 11-year-old elementary school student was abused by fellow pupils in his year and the year above, in and near school, on a number of occasions. Verbal abuse of the victim included statements such as “death to all Jews”, “Hitler was the fucking greatest” and “burn all Jews.”

There were 43 incidents of damage and desecration of Jewish property recorded by CST in the first six months of 2018, a 20 percent drop from the 54 incidents of this type recorded in the first half of 2017.

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