2018 Antisemitism report in Britain
CST has today published our 2018 Antisemitic Incidents Report, which shows that CST recorded a record high total of 1,652 antisemitic incidents in the UK last year. 2018 was the third year in a row that CST has recorded a record high incident total and means the problem of rising antisemitism in our country continues to grow. You can download a copy of CST’s 2018 Antisemitic Incidents Report.
The 1,652 antisemitic incidents CST recorded in 2018 represent a 16 per cent rise from the 1,420 incidents recorded in 2017. These 1,652 incidents were spread throughout the year, with over 100 incidents recorded in every month for the first time in any calendar year; indicating that a general atmosphere of intolerance and prejudice is sustaining the high incident totals, rather than a one-off specific ‘trigger’ event. In addition to more general background factors, the highest monthly totals in 2018 came when the problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party was the subject of intense discussion and activity, or when violence surged temporarily on the border between Israel and Gaza; suggesting that these events, and reactions to them, also played a role in 2018’s record total.
The highest monthly totals in 2018 came in May, with 182 incidents; April, with 151 incidents; August, with 150 incidents; and September, with 148 incidents. It is likely that these higher monthly totals were partly caused by reactions to political events in the UK and overseas, involving the Labour Party and violence on the border of Israel and Gaza, during those months.
CST recorded 148 antisemitic incidents in 2018 that were examples of, or took place in the immediate context of, arguments over alleged antisemitism in the Labour Party. Of these 148 incidents, 49 occurred in August, 16 in September and 15 in April. These were all months in which allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party attracted significant media and political attention. Also in April and May, several Palestinians were killed and many injured in violence connected to protests at the border between Israel and Gaza. CST recorded 173 antisemitic incidents in 2018 that showed anti-Israel motivation alongside antisemitism, of which 47 incidents – over a quarter – occurred in April and May. In 2018 as a whole, CST recorded 84 antisemitic incidents that showed far right motivation, and 13 that showed Islamist motivation.
The 182 incidents recorded by CST in May is the highest monthly total CST has recorded since August 2014, when Israel and Hamas last fought a sustained conflict over Gaza, and is the fourth-highest monthly total CST has ever recorded.
2018 saw an increase in the number and proportion of antisemitic incidents that used political or extremist language and imagery. Forty-five per cent of the incidents recorded by CST in 2018 involved the use of extremist language or imagery alongside antisemitism, compared to 30 per cent of incidents recorded in 2017. Not all of these incidents revealed a clear, single ideological motivation: many involved the varied and confused use of different extremist motifs, drawn from a broad reservoir of antisemitic sources. Of the 1,652 antisemitic incidents recorded during 2018, 456 involved language or imagery relating to the far right or the Nazi period; 254 involved references to Israel and the Palestinians, alongside antisemitism; and 29 involved references to Islam and Muslims. In 285 incidents, more than one type of extremist discourse was used.
CST recorded 384 antisemitic incidents that involved social media in 2018, making up 23 per cent of the overall total of 1,652 incidents. This is an increase of 54 per cent from the 249 antisemitic incidents CST recorded involving social media in 2017, which was 18 per cent of that year’s total. These numbers are indicative and understate the scale of the problem: targeted campaigns directed at individual victims often involve dozens of social media accounts sending hundreds or even thousands of tweets, images or posts within a concentrated timespan, but each campaign will be logged by CST as a single incident. Antisemitic incidents involving social media are only recorded by CST if they have been reported by either the victim or a witness; if the comment shows evidence of antisemitic content, motivation or targeting; and if the offender is based in the United Kingdom or has directly targeted a UK-based victim.