Alarming findings on British anti-Semitism were revealed on Thursday in a new report showing that anti-Semitism incidents jumped by a whopping 53% in the first half of 2015 as compared to the same period last year.
The findings, released in a report by the Community Security Trust (CST) monitoring group, in part indicates a growth in reporting such incidents on the part of UK Jews, who are becoming more willing to step forward and take action against the hate crimes.
A full 473 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded from January to June, as opposed to just 309 in the first six months of 2014 – that figure was itself a 38% percent from the 223 incidents in the first half of 2013.
Breaking down the incidents, CST noted there were 44 violent anti-Semitic assaults – two of which involved a threat to life, 35 incidents of damage or desecration to Jewish property, 36 direct anti-Semitic threats, five mass-mailed anti-Semitic leaflets or emails, and 353 cases of abusive behavior, such as hate mail or graffiti.
The rise is due to heightened reporting of incidents, according to CST, which wrote the increase "is believed to be due to heightened concern within the British Jewish community following terrorist attacks against the Jewish communities of Paris and Copenhagen in January and February 2015."
The report found that "random, spontaneous anti-Semitic abuse directed at visibly Jewish people in public was the most common single type of anti-Semitic incident recorded."
"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."
UK Home Secretary Theresa May commented on the report as well, saying, "anti-Semitism has absolutely no place in Britain, and we must do everything we can to eradicate it wherever we find it."
"It is encouraging that more people are coming forward as the under-reporting of hate crime is a real issue," said May. "This Government is determined to work in partnership with communities across the country and we will publish a counter-extremism strategy to protect citizens and communities, promote our shared values and to defeat extremism in all its forms."
The secretary acknowledged: "I know that many Jewish people in this country are concerned about safety in their community, and we are listening. Those who seek to spread anti-Semitic hatred should know that the government will act against all those who seek to divide our country and sow discord.”
Also responding to the report was Communities Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford, who said, "anti-Semitism and hate crimes of any sort are not only vile, wrong and totally unacceptable in our society, but they are also an affront to the British values that we hold dear."
"Most of the anti-Semitic incidents in this report involved abusive behavior – which includes abuse on social media. Hate expressed online can often lead to real-world violence and what’s more repeated exposure, if left alone, can lead to an acceptance of extreme views," said the minister.
"That’s why this government is determined to find ways to challenge and confront this online hate, to educate people about why it’s so corrosive, and to encourage people to speak out when they see it.”