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Report: Decrease in U.K. Anti-Semitic Incidents

Last year saw an 18 percent decline in reported incidents

Stephanie Butnick
February 07, 2014
A swastika and the word “HEIL” drawn in snow in a synagogue car park, Greater Manchester, January 2013. (Community Security Trust)

A swastika and the word “HEIL” drawn in snow in a synagogue car park, Greater Manchester, January 2013. (Community Security Trust)

A new report released by Britain’s Community Security Trust reveals a decline in the number of anti-Semitic incidents reported to authorities in 2013. According to the Jewish Chronicle, the figures are the lowest they’ve been in several years.

The 529 cases in 2013 included 69 violent assaults, and just over 360 incidents of abusive behaviour — a 23 per cent drop on the previous year and the lowest recorded since 2008.

There was a reduction in cases of damage and desecration to Jewish property — 49 incidents — representing the lowest total for eight years, and a 58 per cent fall in the incidence of racist literature compared to 2012.

These numbers stand in marked contrast to other parts of Europe, where anti-Semitism appears to be on the rise. In France last week, anti-government demonstrators chanted “Jew, France Is Not Yours,” while the anti-Semitic quenelle gesture has become a viral favorite.

Still, while these U.K. figures are promising—you can read the full report here—they really only scratch the surface. For one, the report acknowledged that the majority of hate crimes aren’t reported: “It is likely, therefore, that most antisemitic incidents go unreported either to CST or to the Police, and therefore the true figures will be higher than those recorded in this report.”

It’s also important not to read too much into these numbers, encouraging as they may be. Anti-Semitism remains a problem in the U.K. and elsewhere—those 529 reported incidents reveal as much, as does the need to continue to monitor this kind of activity. We may be making progress, but we still have a long way to go.

Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.

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