Anti-Semitic incidents in the UK in 2021 hit a record high

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Hate incidents against Jews have hit a record in the UK last yearwith acts of anti-Semitism in person and online exceeding the previous peak of 2019 after the outbreak of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in May 2021.

The Community Security Trust (CST), a British charity whose purpose is providing security and advice to the Jewish community in the UKRegistration 2,255 incidents last yearincluding an increase in people who insults from passing cars, as well as 173 violent attacks. It is the largest annual count of anti-Semitic acts that the CST has registered and represents a 34% increase compared to the 1,684 incidents recorded in 2020.

The largest increase coincided with the bloody conflict in the middle east in May 2021. Incidents involving schools, students and teachers reached a new highmore than tripling the 2020 figure. A similar increase in incidents was recorded among students and academicswith the highest volume of college-related hate ever seen, with half of it occurring in May 2021.

Jews in Manchester and London suffered 155 anti-Semitic incidents in which expletives were shouted from passing vehiclesmore than half of which occurred in May and June. Hundreds of Palestinians and 13 people were killed in Israel as the Israel Defense Forces carried out airstrikes in Gaza and Hamas fired rockets at the Jewish state.

Smoke rises from a building after it was hit by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza on May 12, 2021. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Smoke rises from a building after it was hit by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza on May 12, 2021. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa (IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/)

More than a third of all incidents in the UK involved language, images, or behavior that referenced the Middle East conflict or demonstrated an anti-Zionist motivation along with antisemitism.

The Minister of the Interior, Pritti Patelrated the figures “creepy”while the shadow interior minister, Yvette Coopersaid the new record was “truly appalling”according Guardian. The government’s independent adviser on anti-Semitism, John MannSaid it was time “reconsider our efforts to confront antisemitism”according to the British medium.

“These record levels of anti-Jewish racism, reported by our Jewish community to the CST and to the police, demonstrate what hard last year was for Jews across Britain“, He said Mark Gardnerexecutive director of the CST, which is also in charge of the security of Jewish people and property, according to The Guardian.

“These hates riot and take advantage of any excuse to publicly explode against the Jews. This is exactly what happened during and after the war between Israel and Gaza May 2021, from schools and universities, to cars full of people who repeatedly drove into Jewish areas and shouted vile insults at anyone who looked Jewish,” he added.

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The report provides images of antisemitic graffiti in the London borough of Tower Hamlets about the “Zionist military police” and “mind control”, a Vandalized Hanukah chandelier in Camden and graffiti on a Gateshead pavement reading “Fuck Jews”.

Cases of anti-Semitism related to the COVID-19 pandemic, with leaflets distributed in South Yorkshire homes saying “Don’t Trust the Jewish Injection” (in reference to the coronavirus vaccine) and other similar insults. A total of 78 incidents were related to the pandemicfrom conspiracy theories about the involvement of Jews in the creation and spread of the coronavirus or the “myth” of COVID-19even the desire that Jews caught the virus and died. Some reports concerned the misappropriation of images from the Holocaust, such as the yellow star of davidas part of campaigns against the blockade or vaccines.

In addition, they were reported 16 reports of “Zoombombings”video conference events hijacked with antisemitic material during 2021.

The conflict in the Middle East coincided with the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions in the UK, which, according to the CST, may have fueled the rise in hate incidents. In May businesses were allowed to reopen, most legal controls on socializing outdoors and in homes were lifted.

The Minister of the Interior, Priti Patel, in a file image.  EFE/EPA/NEIL HALL
The Minister of the Interior, Priti Patel, in a file image. EFE/EPA/NEIL HALL (NEIL HALL/)

“Our Jewish community has been the object of appalling hatred. In addition to supporting the work of the CST, I continue to support the police in having the necessary resources to deal with these despicable incidents, so that the perpetrators can be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” said Patel.

While Cooper argues that the increasing number of incidents “shows how far we have to go to remove the stain of anti-Semitism from our society”.

“We need urgent action to deal with these incidents. Hate is unacceptable in all its forms, and it is our responsibility to eradicate it once and for all.”, he indicated.


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