Reports of anti-Semitic incidents have spiked in the UK this year, according to a new report.
The Community Security Trust (CST), a charity that monitors anti-Semitism in Britain, said there were 892 recorded incidents in the first six months of 2019 – a 10% increase compared to the same period last year. It is the highest number in this period since records began in 1984.
CST said reports of incidents have risen for a third year in a row, in a sign of Britain’s growing struggle with anti-Semitism.
“The problem is spreading across the country and online, it reflects deepening divisions in our society and it is causing increasing anxiety in the Jewish community,” said David Delew, CST’s chief executive.
Two-thirds of the reported incidents were recorded in London and Manchester, two cities with large Jewish communities.
CST said the number of reported violent anti-Semitic assaults rose to 85 in the first six months of the year from 62 during the same period last year. However, none of the incidents involved potential grievous bodily harm or a threat to life, the CST said.
The charity recorded 710 incidents of abusive behavior and 38 incidents in which Jewish property was damaged or desecrated.
The European Jewish Congress (EJC) said in a statement on Thursday it was “deeply concerned” by the increase. “[The report] confirms the worrying trend of spiraling anti-Semitism year on year in the UK, a trend which is mirrored across the globe,” the organization said.
More than a third of the reported incidents involved social media, a major increase compared to last year. CST said it wasn’t clear whether the increase reflects a rise in the amount of anti-Semitism online, or increased reporting.
It also noted that while online abuse campaigns targeting individuals are recorded as a single incident, they can often involve “dozens of social media accounts sending hundreds or even thousands of tweets, images or posts.”
“The exponential number of incidents recorded on social media … shows the lengths to which antisemitism has entered the mainstream, becoming a dominant force in public forums, debates and discussions,” the EJC said.
A sweeping CNN survey on anti-Semitism last year found that anti-Semitic stereotypes are alive and well in Europe, while the memory of the Holocaust is starting to fade.
In the United Kingdom, the issue has plagued the highest levels of politics. Allegations of anti-Semitism have dogged Britain’s opposition Labour Party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, since he took the helm in 2015.
A number of MPs have left the party over the issue. One of them, Luciana Berger, said that she had come to the “sickening conclusion” that the Labour Party was “institutionally anti-Semitic.
According to CST’s report, 55 recorded incidents were directly related to the Labour Party in February and March this year.
James Masters contributed reporting.