It’s certainly disturbing that there have been more anti-Semitic crimes in Great Britain in the less-than-seven months of 2009 than there were in all twelve of 2008. But also worth despairing over is the explanation: Israel’s three-week incursion into Gaza in January seems to have been the spur behind the statistic. January’s 286 anti-Semitic attacks in Britain—over half of which directly referenced the Gaza conflict—easily made it the worst month since they started keeping track 25 years ago, and February’s 111 made it the second-highest ever. “Of course it may be legitimate for individuals to criticize or be angry at the actions of the Israeli government but we must never allow this anger to be used to justify anti-Semitism,” was the response of Labor Party minister Shahid Malik. Actually, we’d take that a step further: anger at the actions of an autonomous government should never be taken to reflect on autonomous people. Even the association itself, the mindset that says Jews in Britain can be held to account for the Israeli government’s actions, is anti-Semitic. Perhaps that’s why, as depressing as these stats are by themselves, today’s news seems even more of a downer.

Anti-Semitic Attacks in Britain at Record High [JTA]