London Jews See Hate Crimes Rise Amid Calls for More Protection

The number of anti-semitic hate crimes in London jumped in the first six months of the year, as a Jewish defense group urged rigorous protection at synagogues.

There were 144 cases of abusive behavior between January and June, a 53 percent increase from the year-earlier period, according to a report by the Jewish Community Security Trust published yesterday. Across the U.K. cases of abusive behavior including anti-semitic graffiti on non-Jewish properties, hate mail and attacks on social media, accounted for 232 of a total 304 incidents. There were 22 violent assaults nationwide.

“Security procedures should be rigorously followed” at locations where Jews gather due to “current tensions in Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” the CST said in a statement on its website last month. The group “is in close contact with police and government.”

Across Europe some of the most extreme anti-war protesters are directing attacks at Jewish people in general as television images of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza spark public outrage. Germany, France and Italy want to hand police more powers after officers in Berlin allowed anti-semitic banners at a demonstration last month because they considered they didn’t have the authority to intervene.

Police Response

“After any significant global conflict, we monitor for any rise in retribution attacks,” Superintendent Paul Giannasi of the Association of Chief Police Officers said in an e-mailed statement. “We often see initial rises in hate crime but we do normally see that level of tension dropping off as the conflict subsides.”

The CST said incidents of hate crimes have also been detected in Manchester, Hertfordshire and Leeds. The highest number of anti-semitic incidents recorded by the CST in the first half of the year came in 2009, when 629 episodes were recorded.

“This was largely due to anti-semitic reactions to the conflict in Gaza in January of that year,” the CST said in today’s report.

The conflict between Israel and the Islamist Hamas movement has led to the deaths of more than 1,300 Palestinians, most of them civilians, with 7,200 wounded.

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