The UK charity Community Security Trust’s 2017 Anti-Semitic Incidents Report, published Thursday, shows a recorded 1,382 anti-Semitic incidents nationwide in 2017, the highest total CST has ever recorded for a calendar year.
This is a 3% increase over the 1,346 incidents recorded in 2016, which was itself a record annual total. The previous record high was in 2014, when CST recorded 1,182 anti-Semitic incidents.
2017 saw over more than 100 anti-Semitic incidents recorded every month from January to October. This continued an unprecedented pattern of monthly totals exceeding 100 incidents for 19 consecutive months from April 2016. In comparison, monthly totals only exceeded 100 incidents on six occasions in the ten years preceding April 2016. Monthly incident totals did decline towards the end of 2017, with 89 incidents in November and 78 in December, but they remain roughly double their level five years ago.
CST recorded a 34% increase in the number of violent anti-Semitic assaults, from 108 in 2016 to 145 in 2017. There is no single, obvious explanation for this high total, which covers a broad range of violent incidents from common assault to actual bodily harm. However, none of these violent incidents were classified by CST as “Extreme Violence,” which would mean they involved potential grievous bodily harm or threat to life.
The most common single type of incident recorded in 2017 involved verbal abuse randomly directed at visibly Jewish people in public. In 356 incidents (a quarter of the overall total), the victims were Jews, male or female, attacked or abused while going about their daily business in public places. In at least 283 incidents, the victims were visibly Jewish, usually due to their religious or traditional clothing, school uniform or jewelry bearing Jewish symbols.
There were 81 incidents of damage and desecration of Jewish property in 2017; 1,038 incidents of abusive behaviour, including verbal abuse, anti-Semitic graffiti, anti-Semitic abuse via social media and one-off cases of hate mail; 95 direct anti-Semitic threats; and 12 cases of mass-mailed anti-Semitic leaflets or emails.
CST Chief Executive David Delew said in a statement: “Hatred is rising and Jewish people are suffering as a result. This should concern everybody because it shows anger and division that threaten all of society. We have the support of Government and Police, but prosecutions need to be more visible and more frequent; while too many others act in ways that encourage anti-Semites and isolate Jews.”
Home Secretary Amber Rudd MP said in a statement: “Anti-Semitism is a despicable form of abuse that seeks to undermine our values of diversity and openness and which has absolutely no place in British society.
“I welcome this report’s findings that the rise in reported incidents partly reflects the improving response to these horrendous attacks and better information sharing between the CST and police forces around the UK. But even one incident is one too many, and any rise in incidents is clearly concerning, which is why this Government will continue its work protecting the Jewish community and other groups from anti-Semitism and hate crime. In addition to the £13.4m funding the Government provides to protect Jewish sites, this year we will be refreshing our 2016 Hate Crime Action Plan, which sets out our strategy for tackling this scourge.”