The first six months of 2016 saw an 11% increase in anti-Semitic hate incidents recorded in the UK compared with the same period in 2015, according to the Community Security Trust (CST) Anti-Semitic Incident Report January-June 2016, published Thursday.
CST recorded 557 anti-Semitic incidents nationwide during the first half of 2016, compared with 500 anti-Semitic incidents during the first six months of 2015. This total of 557 incidents is the second-highest CST has ever recorded in the January-June period of any year. The highest total for the first half of any year was in 2009, when 629 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in reaction to the Gaza war of January 2009.
The long-term trend shows that the number of anti-Semitic incidents has remained at a relatively high level since the summer of 2014, when the UK saw a large spike in anti-Semitic incidents following that year’s Gaza war. Since then, average monthly anti-Semitic incident totals have ranged between 80 and 100 anti-Semitic incidents per month, whereas in the two years before they had ranged between 40 and 60 incidents per month.
CST has been recording anti-Semitic incidents in the UK since 1984.
Antisemitic graffiti, London, January 2016 / Photo credit: CST
CST discarded 364 reports it received between January and June 2016, which were not deemed to be anti-Semitic and are not included in this total.
The report shows no clear single cause for the increase in recorded anti-Semitic incidents—most of which took place in April, May and June: 99, 125 and 112 incidents respectively. The 125 anti-Semitic incidents recorded in May were the fourth-highest monthly total ever recorded by CST, and the 112 incidents recorded in June were the sixth-highest monthly total ever recorded.
CST recorded 133 anti-Semitic incidents that took place on social media, comprising 24% of the total of 557 incidents for the first half of 2016. Social media are now being used as tools for coordinated campaigns of anti-Semitic harassment, threats and abuse directed at Jewish public figures and other individuals.
79% of the 557 anti-Semitic incidents recorded by CST in the first six months of 2016 took place in the main Jewish centers of Greater London and Greater Manchester. However, the two cities saw very different trends: CST recorded 379 anti-Semitic incidents in Greater London, a rise of 62% from the same period in 2015, but in Greater Manchester, CST recorded 62 anti-Semitic incidents, a 54% drop.
CST recorded 41 violent anti-Semitic assaults in the first six months of 2016, a 13 per cent fall from the 47 violent assaults recorded in the first half of 2015. None of the 41 violent assaults recorded in the first six months of 2016 were serious enough to be classified as Extreme Violence, which would involve an incident that constituted grievous bodily harm or posed a threat to life. The 41 violent incidents comprised 7% of the overall total, compared with 9% in the first half of 2015 and 7% in the first six months of 2014.
There were 32 incidents of damage and desecration of Jewish property recorded by CST in the first six months of 2016, a decrease of 11% from the 36 incidents of this type recorded in the first half of 2015.
CST recorded 43 direct anti-Semitic threats during the first half of 2016, a 10% increase from the 39 incidents in the first six months of 2015. There were 431 incidents of anti-Semitic Abusive Behavior, a 16% increase. These incidents included anti-Semitic graffiti on non-Jewish property, hate mail, anti-Semitic verbal abuse and social media incidents that do not involve direct threats.