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Anti-Semitic attacks at record level in UK, study finds
Attacks peak during Lebanon war; Britain's chief rabbi warns of 'tsunami of anti-Semitism' that is sweeping over Europe

Anti-Semitic attacks reached record levels in Britain last year and peaked during the conflict in Lebanon, a study showed on Thursday.

 

Race hate incidents—ranging from death threats to physical assault—rose by more than 30 percent to almost 600.

 

"These are the worst figures we have had in the 23 years since we have been monitoring it," said Mark Gardner of the Community Security Trust, which advises Britain's estimated 300,000 Jews on safety issues.

 

"British Jews are stupidly blamed and randomly attacked over international tensions for which they bear no responsibility," Gardner said.

 

British Jewish leaders say attacks have risen steadily since 2000 with Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks warning that "a tsunami of anti-Semitism" was sweeping across Europe.

 

Gardner said last year's incidents peaked during the month-long war between Israel and Hizbullah in Lebanon which started in July, adding the spike then was specifically anti-Semitic and not just anger with Israel.

 

'My name is Hitler'

He said the trend was mirrored across Europe. "It happens in diaspora communities throughout Europe with any trigger like the Lebanon conflict," He told Reuters.

 

"But it is quite difficult to compare with other countries as the sizes of the Jewish communities are quite different. The situation in France has improved slightly from the days when synagogues were being fire-bombed," he added.

 

Gardner said four of the incidents last year were potentially life-threatening. A Jewish man was stabbed in London, others were beaten with metal bars and broken bottles.

 

"I want to kill all Jews and my name is Hitler," one Arab shouted before punching an Orthodox Jew in the face at a London underground railway station and trying to push him off the platform.

 

'Not comparable with the 30s'

Gravestones were desecrated, synagogues daubed with slogans and hate mail sent to a Jewish member of parliament.

 

Gardner said: "This is certainly not comparable with the 1930s or anything remotely like that. But anti-Semitism should be judged by the same standards as any other standards that British citizens enjoy."

 

He said anti-Semitism rose when society faced underlying problems. "Britain is an excellent place to be a Jew but questions are being asked about what the future holds for future generations."

 

The threat from radical Islam, rammed home by the July 2005 suicide bomb attacks in London, has led Britain into a profound rethink of its attitude to ethnic minorities.

 

The government has launched a debate on whether Britain's long-standing policy of avoiding imposing a single British identity in a multi-cultural society has led to segregation of ethnic minorities.

 


פרסום ראשון: 02.01.07, 13:35
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