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Anti-Semitic Incidents in the U.K. Reached All-Time Highs in 2016: Report

Rather than ‘spike,’ the amount of reported anti-Semitic incidents was consistent throughout the year

Jonathan Zalman
February 02, 2017
Anti-Semitic graffiti Longrun Meadow, Taunton, England. Facebook
Anti-Semitic graffiti Longrun Meadow, Taunton, England. Facebook

A troubling and perhaps unsurprising report from a British anti-Semitism watchdog released Thursday shows that 1,309 anti-Semitic incidents occurred in 2016, a high since Community Security Trust began recording and compiling these reports, in 1984. The “all-time high” number comes into further focus when learning that CST reports “it is likely that there is significant under-reporting of anti-Semitic incidents to both CTS and the Police.” More than 75 percent of all reported incidents took place in either Greater London or Manchester.

In fact, from May through December—an eight-month span—more than 100 incidents were reported in each of those months. This is a level of consistency that in other years was not seen: In 2009 and 2014, for example, conflicts in Israel and Gaza—what CST calls “trigger events”—caused “identifiable spikes” in anti-Semitic incidents. In 2016, however, this did not occur, yet anti-Semitic incidents still occurred at an all-time clip. The watchdog hypothesizes that this may be due to the “cumulative effect of a series of relatively lengthy events and factors that, taken together, created an atmosphere” that sustained these hateful occurrences, such as

the conflict in Israel and Gaza of July-August 2014; terrorist attacks in Western nations, particularly those against Jewish communities in France and Denmark in January and February 2015; high profile allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party; a perceived climate of increased racism and xenophobia in Britain following the EU referendum, including an increase in recorded racial and religious hate crime; and regular, high-profile discussion of antisemitism, racism and hate crime in mainstream media, politics and on social media during the year.

Download the full report here.

Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.