Rise in anti-Semitism
Last updated: 2004-02-19
Community Security Trust
A total of 375 anti-Semitic incidents on Jewish people and property were recorded in 2003, up from 350 in the previous according to a new report by the the Community Security Trust (CST) .
In 2003, 54 anti-Semitic assaults were recorded compared with 47 such incidents in 2002, representing a 15 per cent increase on the previous year. There was also a 31 per cent rise in the damage and desecration of Jewish property, with 72 such incidents in 2003, compared with 55 in 2002.
The CST is a charity that advises and represents the Jewish community on matters on anti-Semitism, terrorism and security. The CST classifies an anti-Semitic incident as any malicious act aimed at the Jewish community or Jewish individuals as Jews.
As in previous years, the number of anti-Semitic incidents perpetrated in Britain in 2003 fluctuated in response to events in the Middle East.
The 57 incidents recorded in October 2003 is the second-highest monthly total since records began in 1984. According to the CST, this spike in incidents was in reaction to a rise in tension in the Middle East. The month began with a major suicide bombing in Haifa, followed by the Israeli bombing of a terrorist training facility in Syria. Events in the Middle East do not have to involve Israel for the Jewish community in Britain to suffer anti-Semitism as a consequence. Of the 375 anti-Semitic incidents in 2003, 75 showed specific anti-Zionist motivation. Since the start of the second Palestinian Intifada, in September 2000, there have been 104 synagogue desecrations in the UK.
In March 2003, the month in which the Iraq war began, 48 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded, which is almost double the number of 26 incidents in March 2002.
A spokesperson for the CST said, This increase in anti-Semitic incidents is very concerning. We continue to see incidents stimulated by events in the Middle East, and this has been highlighted by the number of anti-Semitic incidents that showed specific anti-Zionist motivation.