Alarm at fresh rise in anti-semitism in Britain

By staff writers
February 8, 2009

Concerns are being expressed about a significant rise in anti-semitic attacks and harassment in Britain. Some 270 cases have been reported in 2009, according to figures compiled by the Community Security Trust.

CST is a body that monitors anti-Jewish racism. It says that anti-Israeli government sentiment in reaction to bombardment and invasion in Gaza has translated into anti-Jewish sentiment - something which anti-racists roundly condemn.

The Observer newspaper reports that Scotland Yard has placed prominent Jewish communities on heightened alert, while the Association of Chief Police Officers' national community tension team is responding to intelligence by issuing weekly patrol directives to chief constables.

He is instructing them of threats to Jewish communities in their areas and asking them to take appropriate action and to liaise with community groups.

Incidents recently recorded by the Community Security Trust include violent assaults in the street, hate emails and graffiti threatening "jihad" against British Jews.

Jewish children seem to be a particular target. A Birmingham school is investigating reports that 20 children chased a 12-year-old girl, its only Jewish pupil, chanting "Kill all Jews" and "Death to Jews".

In another incident a Jewish schoolgirl reported being bullied at a non-Jewish school because of the Gaza conflict.

CST spokesman Mark Gardner said the current fear of persecution was so profound that some members of the Jewish community were seeking to emigrate to countries where they felt more secure.

He commented:"I know two families, one of which has already moved and the other which is in the process of moving, who don't see the point of putting up with this."

This week the Community Security Trust will publish its annual report on anti-semitic incidents for 2008, which will reveal that around 550 were recorded in the UK last year, slightly fewer than the record of 594 in 2006. But the statistics are likely to be worse for 2009.

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