UK antisemitic hate incidents hit new high in 2023, says charityon February 15, 2024 at 1:35 am

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Reports to a Jewish security charity say incidents were almost double the previous record set in 2021.

A woman draped in an Israel flag sits before another flag surrounded by candles at a vigil in Downing Street, October 2023Image source, Reuters

Reports of antisemitic incidents in the UK reached a record high last year, according to figures from a Jewish security charity.

The Community Security Trust (CST) recorded reports of 4,103 anti-Jewish hate incidents in 2023, up from 1,662 in 2022 and almost double the previous record of 2,255 hit in 2021.

Its annual report relies on figures from incidents that are self-reported.

Two-thirds of incidents happened on or after the Hamas attacks on 7 October.

CST’s annual report also found antisemitic incidents in and around schools have more than tripled since 2022.

Many Jewish schools have increased security since last October, including King David High School in Manchester.

Yoni at school

Image source, BBC/DAN NELSON

While pupils feel safe at school, some say they have been subjected to abuse while travelling there and back.

Verbal abuse on the street has become part of daily life for pupils like Yoni.

“A lot of the time I do feel quite afraid walking around with a kippah [skullcap] because it makes me identifiably Jewish,” he said. “Personally, when I’ve been walking down the street I’ve had stuff shouted at me from cars and it’s had quite an impact.

“A few weeks ago I was threatened, reported it, and the police dealt with it.”

His friend Ahiva has also received abuse while shopping in Manchester.

“Unfortunately for a lot of people it’s just a fact of life.”

Rabbi Benjy Rickman, head of religious studies at King David High, thinks it is “terrifying” that pupils are afraid to use public transport because they are Jewish.

Benjy Rickman

He believes education is the key to tackling antisemitism and has worked with different faith schools across Manchester for more than 10 years.

“Home Secretary James Cleverly said steps the government had taken to confront the “utterly deplorable” rise in antisemitic abuse included increasing funding for protective security at Jewish schools and places of worship.

In November, the government announced £7m in funding to help schools and universities tackle antisemitism.

Of the £7m, £5.5m is now available to be bid for by organisations.

CST’s annual report also indicated:

  • University-related antisemitic incidents more than tripled, from 60 in 2022 to 182 in 2023
  • Online antisemitism formed 31% of the 2023 total, compared with 22% of 2022 incidents
  • There was at least one antisemitic incident in every police region in the UK for the first time.

The CST says the main surge in antisemitic hate incidents came after Hamas gunmen killed about 1,200 people in southern Israel on 7 October and took 253 other people hostage.

The Israeli military then launched a campaign in Gaza, and its Hamas-run health ministry says more than 28,500 people have been killed in the territory since then.

CST chief executive David Gardner said the report highlights the human impact of antisemitism in the UK.

“Every single one of those reports, it all comes down to people – people asking what sort of future there is,” he said.

“This report puts into very dry terms a very human story that is deeply impacting British Jews. ”

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