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Anti-semitism on the Rise in Britain, Report Concludes

September 8, 2006
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Anti-Semitism is rising in Britain, partly as a result of the situation in the Middle East, according to a new study. The Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry Into Anti-Semitism was presented Thursday to British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The study was chaired by Labor Party lawmaker Denis MacShane and co-written by a multiparty group of 14 lawmakers over 10 months.

MacShane said many British Jews bear the brunt of people’s anger over Israeli and American policies.

British Jews welcomed the report.

“This is an important document and its recommendations demand careful study. The report bears out many of the concerns that the board has expressed for the past five years,” said Henry Grunwald, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. “We look forward to working with the government and other interested parties in implementing the report’s recommendations in the days ahead.”

The report makes more than 30 recommendations, including calling on the British government to provide greater support for British Jews’ security needs, especially with reference to places of worship and schools. It also calls for a concrete definition of anti-Semitism.

“Anti-Semitism is not one-dimensional. It is perpetrated in different ways by different groups within society, and for this reason it is hard to identify,” the report said.

It describes the policing situation as “inexcusable,” saying police forces aren’t required to record anti-Semitic incidents as they are other hate crimes.

In addition to more than 100 written submissions from organizations and individuals, the panel of lawmakers heard oral evidence in four sessions that were held in February and March. Presenters included former Home Secretary Charles Clarke; Attorney General Lord Goldsmith; Orthodox Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks; race watchdog chief Trevor Phillips; and the former head of the Muslim Council of Britain, Sir Iqbal Sacranie.

One of the panel members, former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, said the situation is worse than he had realized.

The inquiry indicates that fewer than one in 10 anti-Semitic attacks reported to authorities resulted in prosecutions, and called for the Crown Prosecution Service to investigate why the number reported is so low.

The study suggests that tensions in the Middle East have exacerbated the problem. The report points to a minority of Islamic extremists who have used the situation in the Middle East to stoke hatred against Jews.

The report’s advisory board included Manfred Gerstenfeld, chairman of the Board of Fellows at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs; Grunwald of the Board of Deputies; and other British and American academics.

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