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Last updated: 2003-05-08

The Board of Deputies is disappointed at the way in which the Mayor of London has handled the worrying increase of physical and verbal antisemitic attacks in Britain.

In a letter to Ken Livingstone, Acting President Henry Grunwald QC pointed out that in the first quarter of 2003 there have been 89 antisemitic incidents, a 75% increase on the first quarter of last year. These figures reflect a well established pattern whereby antisemitic incidents in Britain closely reflect events in the Middle East - in this case the war in Iraq.

Mr Grunwald commented:
“What we are witnessing here is essentially anti-Israel political violence perpetrated against convenient Jewish targets. Although the Mayor, quite rightly, warned against a rise in attacks on Muslims - which has thankfully not occurred - his office failed to warn publicly of the dangers of antisemitic attacks, even though the Jewish Community and Police were well aware of the likelihood that this would occur.”

Mr Grunwald also expressed regret that the Mayor was still willing to meet with organizations such as the Muslim Association of Britain, which encourage hatred of “Zionism and Zionists.” He told the Mayor:

“It is our sincere belief that the lunatic antisemitic fringe is emboldened by the activities of these groups, and the support given to them by people in positions such as yours. The evidence clearly demonstrates that inflammatory language leads to inflammatory acts.”