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Anti-Semitism being ignored

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2006-09-07



A rising tide of anti-Semitism is spreading across Britain and nothing is being done about it, is the damning indictment according to a report by a group of cross party MPs.

A ten month investigation by the All Party Parliamentary group found that less than 10% of reported anti-Semitic incidents result in legal action being taken. The group, chaired by Denis MacShane, the former minister of Europe is now asking for urgent action to deal with all forms of anti-Semitism.

The report confirmed that anti-Semitic literature is being widely distributed across Britain in which Jews are called for to be killed. As well as being publicly distributed in Arab bookstores in London, material has also been getting into University Campuses.

"Acts of violence and abuse towards Jews are an affront to any modern society," said Mr McShane. "The most worrying discovery of this inquiry is that anti-Jewish sentiment is entering the mainstream, appearing in the everyday conversations of people who consider themselves neither racist nor prejudiced. All forms of anti-Semitism are racism and should be treated as such."

Following recent conflict in Lebanon, there has been a major increase on attacks. According to the Community Security Trust, July saw 92 recorded incidents compared to between 10 and 30 a month in 2000. Anti-Semites are said to be using Israel as a focus for attacks on Jews in Britain.

Recent attacks have included daubings on Jewish public buildings as well as private homes of individuals. There have also been numerous physical and verbal attacks on Jews in the street.

"This is an important document and its recommendations demand careful study," said Board of Deputies president Henry Grunwald. "The report bears out many of the concerns that the Board has expressed for the past five years. It also is a sad commentary that in the same year that we, as British Jews, are celebrating the 350th anniversary of our readmission to this country that antisemitism has again become such a worrisome issue."

Mr Grunwald added: "We look forward with working with the government and other interested parties in implementing the report’s recommendations in the days ahead."

John Mann MP, from the All Party Parliamentary Group said it is time to challenge those who are anti-Semitic and apply the law to those who promote anti-Semitism. "Anti-Semitism is the forgotten racism, it has become all too acceptable. People in authority should challenge all forms of anti-Semitism as being unacceptable."

The group recommends that all police forces should record incidents of anti-Semitism as well local and central government taking a more pro-active role in combating it.