British anti-Semitic incidents set record in ’14, security watchdog reports


(JTA) — The Jewish security watchdog group in Britain recorded 1,168 anti-Semitic incidents for 2014, the highest annual total ever.

The Community Security Trust in a report published Wednesday said the number of incidents from last year was more than double the 535 from 2013, and it marked the first time that the number exceeded 1,000  in a calendar year. The previous record was 931 incidents in 2009.

The highest monthly totals coincide with the summer’s Israel-Gaza conflict, which lasted from July 8 to Aug. 26. CST, which runs an incident hotline, reported a record 344 incidents in July and 228 in August, the third most ever in a month. By comparison, in 2013 there were 59 incidents recorded in July and 48 in August.

The incidents included 81 violent assaults, with one considered extreme violence involving a threat to life, an increase of 17 percent from 2013; 81 incidents of damage and desecration to Jewish property, an increase of 65 percent from the previous year; 884 incidents of abusive behavior such as verbal abuse, hate mail, anti-Semitic graffiti on non-Jewish property and anti-Semitic content on social media, up 136 percent from 2013; 92 incidents of threats, up 142 percent from 2013;  and 30 incidents of literature, such as mass-produced anti-Semitic mailings and emails.

More than half the incidents involved verbal abuse in public directed at random Jewish people, and 233 of the incidents involved the use of Internet-based social media, according to CST.

Some 69 of the incidents targeted synagogues, and another 41 targeted worshippers on their way to or from prayer. Another 66 incidents targeted Jewish schools.

“These attacks are not only an attack on British Jews, but an attack on all of us and our shared values,” Eric Pickles, secretary of the government’s British Communities, told the Guardian. “This is totally unacceptable. Those who perpetrate hate crimes of any kind will be punished with the full force of the law.”

Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking to the Parliament on Wednesday, said, “We need to do everything we can to help this community feel safe and secure in our country,” according to The Associated Press. “I would hate it for British Jews not to feel that they have a home here in Britain — safe, secure and a vital part of our community.”

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