Britain sees unprecedented spike in attacks on Jews

February 13th, 2009 - 7:19 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 13 (IANS) The fighting in Gaza has led to an “unprecedented” surge in attacks on Jews in Britain, a report by a Jewish security group said Friday.
The Community Security Trust (CST), a charity which works to safeguard the Jewish community in Britain, said 541 incidents were recorded last year.

However, 250 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in the four weeks after fighting began in Gaza Dec 27.

Crimes included violent street assaults, attacks on synagogues, hate emails and graffiti threatening ‘jihad’ against British Jews.

Schoolchildren have also been singled out for verbal abuse and bullying as police warned Jewish communities to be on alert.

The figures suggest 2009 could turn out to be the worst year on record for anti-Semitic abuse in Britain.

“Clearly this is a particularly sharp spike in incidents, the highest recorded number in such a short time, and likely to be a record year,” said Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

The report lists incidents from more than 50 locations, the majority of them in London.

Mark Gardner of the CST said the attacks bucked a two-year trend of declining anti-Semitic incidents in Britain.

“The Jewish community would have welcomed this decline in incident figures for a second year running. Sadly, the subsequent outburst of anti-Semitic rage during the Gaza conflict shows the shocking impact upon British Jews of widespread anti-Israel hysteria,” he said.

Liberal Democrat shadow home secretary, Chris Huhne, said: “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.”

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