CST, ADL’s partner in UK, reported today a significant increase in anti-Semitic incidents for first half of 2015, compared to the same period in 2014, but cautioned against alarm: “Detailed analysis of the timing, content and sources of every one of these recorded antisemitic incidents suggests that, while they may partly reflect a real rise in incident levels, the primary explanation for the rise is most likely to be a greater willingness by people to report antisemitism, either to CST or Police.”
The report does contain, however, some disturbing findings:
- Forty-four violent anti-Semitic assaults were recorded during the period, including two instances of “grievous bodily harm.” The number of violent incidents doubled from 2014.
- Synagogues were targeted 25 times in first half of 2015.
- Twenty incidents occurred at Jewish schools; 10 at public schools; and 14 incidents involved Jewish children or school staff on their way to or from school. Three of the incidents involving children were classified under “Assaults.”
Information on perpetrators and motivations was also reported, though with caveats about the reliability of information from victims about the perpetrators’ ethnicity. The report categorizes the perpetrators’ “ethnic appearance” as:
- 54% “white – north European”
- 23% “south Asian”
- 13% “black”
- 6% “Arab or north African”
- 3% “white – south European”
- 1% “east or south-east Asian”
Political discourse was reported in just 36% of incidents, with far-right language making up the vast majority. References to Israel, Zionism or the Middle East were reported to have been made in less than 7% of incidents.
These numbers should put to rest the commonly held misconception that anti-Semitic incidents are primarily driven by reactions to the Middle East conflict. Yes, fighting between Israelis and Palestinians can trigger an upsurge, but right-wing extremist anti-Semitism remains a serious concern in the UK and elsewhere.