Anti-Semitism in Europe (Archive Photo)
Photo: AP

Britain: Rise in anti-Semitic attacks since war

Times newspaper reports a surge in anti-Semitic attacks in Britain since Israel-Hizbullah war started on July 12

The Times British newspaper reported on Saturday that there has been a rise in attacks against Jews in Britain since the start of Israel's war against Hizbullah in Lebanon.


Swastikas have been drawn on synagogues and Jewish leader have received hate emails, while some Jews were attacked on the streets.


A parliamentary inquiry is set to confirm on Thursday that anti-Semitic violence is "endemic in Britain," the newspaper reported.


Citing attacks in university campuses and city streets, the inquiry will recommend fast government action to reverse the trend.


Mark Gardner, of the Community Security Trust, told the Times: “In July, when the conflict in Lebanon began, we received reports of 92 incidents, which was the third-worst month since records began in 1984.”


In 2000, the monthly average was between 10 to 30 attacks.


“These figures confirm the evidence given to us that anti-Semitic attacks are a very real problem,” said Denis McShane, a former minister who headed the inquiry.


The Board of Deputies of British Jews told the inquiry that anti-Semitism in Britain has reached an all-time worst.


'They threatened to kill me' 

The July incidents “were more dispersed than usual”, Gardner said. “It is usually a small number responsible for a large number of attacks, but these were very widespread across the country and included graffiti attacks on synagogues in Edinburgh and Glasgow.”


Gardner added that when identified, the attackers represent all communities in Britain. “When it’s verbal abuse, it’s just ordinary people in the street, from middle-class women to working-class men. All colours and backgrounds. We hardly ever see incidents involving the classic neo-Nazi skinhead. Muslims are over-represented.”


In some hate emails, Jewish leaders have been blamed for the killing of innocent civilians in Lebanon. “There are also references to the Holocaust, saying that Hitler should have wiped out the Jews.”


Gardner related the rise to a mood of increased hostility to Jews and Israel in the media and among the general public. “The number of anti-Semitic attacks reflects the mood music around Jews and Israel," he told the newspaper.


In Golders Green and Hampstead Garden Suburb in North London, home to a large Jewish community, several attack were recorded.


Ruth Cohen, owner of La Maison du Café in Golders Green Road, was attacked two days ago by two young men who threw chairs at her restaurant, punched the worker and threatened to kill her.


“They asked if it was a Jewish restaurant. They said they were going to kill me and called me a ‘dirty Jew’, a ‘stinking Jew’. One of them had a knife. A colleague came out. They started punching him and throwing chairs,” said Ruth, 34.


“The problem is the spin that Israel is an irredeemably evil regime, and we are concerned that it may become common currency to connect British Jews with this,” said Jon Benjamin, of the Board of Deputies.


פרסום ראשון: 09.02.06, 11:39
 new comment
This will delete your current comment