Spike in anti-Semitic attacks following Gaza conflict

By politics.co.uk staff

There was a massive rise in anti-Semitic attacks in Britain following the Israeli conflict in Gaza despite a four percent fall in incidents in 2008.

The Community Security Trust (CST), which monitors anti-Semitism in Britain, said there were 541 incidents across the country in 2008, the third worst year since they began recording incidents in 1984, but down from 561 in 2007 and a record 598 in 2006.

In the four weeks following the beginning of the Gaza conflict on 27 December the CST said it had more than 250 incidents reported to it, the highest rate it has ever seen.

“The Jewish community would have welcomed this decline in incident figures for a second year running,” said CST spokesman Mark Gardner.

“Sadly, the subsequent outburst of anti-Semitic rage during the Gaza conflict shows the shocking impact upon British Jews of widespread anti-Israel hysteria.”

There was a 25 percent fall in violent assaults in 2008 but the CST also recorded the first anti-Semitic killing in Britain since it began monitoring incidents.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: “The home secretary and the police need to stamp on anti-Semitic crime quickly and firmly.

“It is totally unacceptable that any minority should find their lives disrupted because of events in another part of the world, for which they cannot be held responsible.”

The conflict in Gaza has caused problems for the Jewish community in Britain, despite some disagreeing with Israel’s actions.

Last Saturday saw a national Boycott Israeli Goods (BIG) campaign in protest against the controversial conflict.

“British Jews have no control or influence over what’s happening in the Middle East. Campaigns like this can have the best motives in the world but it doesn’t change the negative impact of the Jewish community,” Mr Gardner told politics.co.uk.

“The involvement of a small number of vocal Jews allows others to point the finger at the large silent, blameless majority.

“This affects Jewish morale, because it encourages people to regard Jews as moral reprobates.”

Israel is still in the process of choosing its government, with Kadima and Likud still trying to form a coalition, probably involving Avigdor Lieberman’s far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party.