A report from Britain’s Community Security Trust shows reports of anti-Semitic incidents were up 53 percent in the first half of this year, Israel Hayom reported. The CST is a Jewish community body which advises on matters of security.
The number of reported incidents from January to June 2015 hit 473, including two which were classified as “extreme violence”. During the same period last year, less than half the number of incidents were reported, and 2014 was already a record year for anti-Semitism in the UK, according to the CST.
The CST’s observations on anti-Semitism in the UK in 2014 reflected a worldwide trend noted by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry.
Across Europe, Jews are feeling an undercurrent of anti-Semitism, particularly in response to Israel’s policies, which are unpopular on the continent. In addition, social tension over immigration and economic hardship have served to make far-right parties popular. Two major incidents – a shooting attack in a kosher grocery in Paris which killed four, followed by another attack in Copenhagen in which two died – fueled the fears of European Jewry, which may have led to the increased reporting of incidents in 2015.
“The terrorist attacks on European Jews earlier this year, following the high levels of anti-Semitism in 2014, were a difficult and unsettling experience for our Jewish community,” said CST Chief Executive David Delew.
“We welcome the apparent increase in reporting of anti-Semitic incidents, but regret the concern and anxiety about anti-Semitism that this reflects.”
The CST suggested 2014’s uptick in anti-Semitic occurrences may have been a reaction to Israel’s 50-day conflict with Gaza last summer, while this year’s rise may reflect nothing more than an increase in reporting. An additional 333 incidents were reported to the CST, but were ultimately deemed not to be anti-Semitic in nature.
The CST report comes against an urgent call for action from senior lawmakers to address the rise in anti-Semitism in the UK. A survey suggested that a quarter of British Jews had considered leaving the country, while more than half saw no long-term future in Europe.
Following the Paris attack, British police stepped up their patrols of synagogues and other Jewish venues. The government has also promised to take action against anti-Semitism.
“I know that many Jewish people in this country are concerned about safety in their community, and we are listening,” said Home Secretary Theresa May.