Antisemitic incidents report for January to June 2018
The number of antisemitic incidents in the UK fell by eight percent in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period last year, but spiked in May as Israeli soldiers clashed with Palestinians on the Gaza border.
Half-year figures published today by the Community Security Trust (CST) reveal there were 727 antisemitic incidents from January to June, the second highest ever recorded for that period, with almost a quarter coming from social media.
Of most concern to CST bosses however was the “unprecedented” high level of antisemitic incidents being registered every month, with 100 or more in all but two months since April 2016.
As with previous years, flare-ups between Israelis and Palestinians appear to have had an impact on antisemitism in the UK. Across April and May, when the protests at the Gaza border turned most deadly, there were an average of 150 incidents per month, whereas in January, February, March and June the average was 107.
The CST said incidents “showing anti-Israeli motivation” were up 63 percent on the first six months of last year, and that events in Gaza “may help explain” the spike in April and May, but that there were other factors driving the consistently high levels, including the growing confidence of antisemites to express their views.
The charity, which protects Britain’s Jewish community, said that while the number of antisemitic assaults against Jews was down by 26 percent, there had been an increase in online hate, which now comprises 22 percent of the total. Last year it comprised 18 percent.
“Social media has become an essential tool for those who wish to harass, abuse and threaten Jewish public figures and institutions, or who simply want to broadcast their antisemitic views,” the CST said, revealing that the number of online antisemitic incidents in the second quarter was double that of the same period last year.
“Targeted campaigns directed at individual victims can sometimes involve dozens of social media accounts sending hundreds or even thousands of tweets, images or posts using material usually created on neo-Nazi websites.”
The charity said Labour’s antisemitism crisis had been referenced in 34 incidents, but across the board numbers had fallen. Damage and desecration of Jewish property was down 20 percent, threats were down nine percent, and abusive behaviour fell by seven percent.
Although there was one incident involving a knife and 13 incidents involving other objects such as bricks or bottles, there were no incidents classed as ‘extreme violence’, which could include grievous bodily harm or threats to life.
CST bosses welcomed the half-yearly fall in numbers but were careful to note that the figures were still at record-high levels.