Antisemitism

Incidents
Types of incidents
Incident perpetrators

Incidents

The Community Security Trust (CST), a charity that advises and represents the Jewish community on matters of antisemitism, terrorism, policing and security has recorded antisemitic incidents in the United Kingdom since 1984.

The figures from their Antisemitic Incidents Report 2010 are summarised below.

Annual antisemitic incident figures
Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Incidents 405 310 350 375 532 459 598 561 541 926 639

This chart illustrates the figures.

Vertical bar chart

CST classifies as an antisemitic incident any malicious act aimed at Jewish people, organisations or property, where there is evidence that the act has antisemitic motivation or content, or that the victim was targeted because they are (or are believed to be) Jewish. Incidents can take several forms, including physical attacks on people or property, verbal or written abuse, or antisemitic leaflets and posters.

Antisemitic incidents are reported to CST in a number of ways, most commonly by telephone, email or by post.

Not all antisemitic incidents will be reported to CST and therefore the true figures will be higher than those recorded. No adjustments have been made to the figures to account for this.

It is likely that this non-reporting also varies from category to category: for instance, while most antisemitic assaults are probably reported to CST, it is likely that the vast majority of cases of verbal abuse are not.

Types of incidents

Antisemetic incident by category
Type 2009 2010
Extreme violence 0 0
Assault 121 114
Damage & desecration of property 89 83
Threats 44 32
Abusive behaviour 605 385
Literature 62 25
Total 924 639

Extreme violence

Incidents of Extreme Violence include any attack potentially causing loss of life or grievous bodily harm (GBH). There were no incidents of Extreme Violence in 2010, compared with three in 2009. This is the first year since 2003 that CST has not recorded any incidents of Extreme Violence.

Assault

Incidents of Assault include any physical attack against a person or people, which does not pose a threat to their life and is not GBH.

Examples
Manchester, January: Two white men approached a visibly Jewish man, ripped the yarmulke (skullcap) off his head and punched him to the ground, knocking him out. Both offenders were arrested and prosecuted for common assault.

London, April: A Jewish man was walking with his children when an Asian man threw a rock at them and shouted, “Jew, Jew, Jew”.

Leeds, September: A Jewish man was at an ATM when a car containing three or four Asian men drove past. One of the occupants shouted, “Jude” and then they threw several eggs at him.

London, December: A Jewish man was driving through central London playing loud Hebrew music from his car and with a skullcap visible on his dashboard. An Arab man came and kicked his car, leaving a dent. When the Jewish man got out of his car to ask why, he was set upon by his assailant and several other Arab men, who beat him to the ground, leaving him with a head wound which required stitches.

Damage and desecration of property

This category includes any physical attack directed against Jewish property, which is not life-threatening. This includes the daubing of antisemitic slogans or symbols (such as swastikas), including stickers and posters, on Jewish property, or damage caused to Jewish property, where it appears that the building has been specifically targeted because of its Jewish connection.

Examples
Manchester, February: A Jewish couple found a boot mark on, and the word “Jew” scratched into, the front door of their house.

Manchester, February: Several Jewish-owned houses on an estate had the mezuzah (doorpost scroll) pulled off the front door and left on the ground.

Manchester, November: Several Jewish-owned houses on the same street were daubed with antisemitic graffiti. Some of the graffiti read: “I hate you Jews”, “Jew suckers” and “F**k you Jews”.

Birmingham, November: A Jewish woman found a swastika and SS symbol drawn in the ice on her car windscreen. Another Jewish woman in a nearby street found “Yids”, “THFC”, “Sh*t” and a cartoon face with a large nose drawn in the ice on her car.

Threats

This category includes only direct threats, whether verbal or written.

Examples
Manchester, March: Some Jewish schoolboys were walking down a road when some Asian girls shouted, “Yids, we’re going to burn your school.”

London, April: A Jewish election candidate was out campaigning when two Asian men gave him antisemitic verbal abuse and said, “We are going to kill you”.

London, August: Two Jewish women were in a pub where they were being harassed by two black men. After the women moved to a different part of the pub, one of the men said to them, “That ’s why I’m going to kill every f**king Jew in the world before I die”.
South-east England, October: A Jewish school received a typed letter in the post in English and Arabic, which read: “On October 18 we are going to blow up your school to prove to the Israeli army and we will not surrender”.

Abusive behaviour

This category includes verbal and written antisemitic abuse. The verbal abuse can be face to face or via telephone or answerphone messages. The category also includes antisemitic emails and text messages, as well as targeted antisemitic letters (that is, those aimed at and sent to a specific individual), irrespective of whether or not the recipient is Jewish.

This is different from a mass mailing of antisemitic leaflets or other publications, which is dealt with by the separate Literature category. Antisemitic graffiti on non-Jewish property is also included in this category.

Examples
Leeds, January: The words “F**K THE JEWS” with a swastika were drawn on a desk in the University of Leeds library.

London, January: A Jewish organisation received an email which read: “So what are the Jews doing to assist with the relief fund in Haiti? As I thought! Nothing!! If it does not benefit the Jews it’s not worth the effort. Too busy trying to money grab for yourselves.”

Birmingham, November: A student meeting was held with a speaker talking on the subject of “Afghanistan to Gaza: 21st Century Warfare”. Antisemitic messages were posted in the name “Naeem Mahmood” on the Facebook page advertising the event, including “Most Jews won’t come because of the £2 entry fee” and “go Hamassssss” [sic].

Worcester, December: The word “Jew” was daubed on a pavement with an arrow pointing towards a drain.

Literature

This category covers mass-produced antisemitic literature which is distributed in multiple quantities. This can involve a single mass mailing, or repeated individual mailings, but it must involve the multiple use of the same piece of literature in order to fall into this category.

This is different from one-off cases of hate mail targeted at individual people or organisations, which would come under the category of Abusive Behaviour or Threats (depending on their content).

The Literature category includes literature that is antisemitic in itself, irrespective of whether or not the recipient is Jewish, or cases where Jews are specifically targeted for malicious distribution, even if the material itself is not antisemitic.

This would include, for instance, the mass mailing of neo-Nazi literature to Jewish homes, even if the literature did not mention Jews. This category also includes emails that are sent to groups of recipients, but not material that is generally available on websites or comments posted on blogs.

Examples
London, January: Some leaflets were left at a train station, including a Holocaust denial cartoon titled “Have a Happy Chanukah Holiday in…Yidneyland”; another which read “ARBEIT NICHTS MACHT FREI, JEWISH VERMIN SHOULD BE EXTERMINATED, RE-OPEN AUSCHWITZ AND TREBLINKA, GET ALL JEWS AND MUSLIMS OUT OF REDBRIDGE”; and another leaflet calling for Marks & Spencer to be boycotted for supporting Israel.

London, June: Every Member of Parliament received an email titled “the jews = blood sucker”, which referred to the Gaza flotilla and “Jews (the real terrorist)”.

Kent and Hertfordshire, November: Leaflets were hand-delivered to houses in Kent and Hertfordshire which were titled “9/11 WAS CARRIED OUT BY ISRAEL”. The leaflet read: “The same forces behind Israel are the same forces that created 7/7, WW1, WW2, the Russian Revolution, the French Revolution, every conceivable act of terrorism and financial downfall in history – including this recession.” The leaflet then listed several antisemitic and anti-Israel websites and videos.

London, November and December: Several recipients were sent a Christmas card which featured a cartoon of two characters, an adult and a child. The adult is depicted saying, “Do you still believe in Father Christmas?”; the child replies, “Do you still believe in Holocaust?”

Incident perpetrators

Identifying the motives and ethnicity of the perpetrators of antisemitic incidents can be a difficult and imprecise task. Many antisemitic incidents involve public encounters where the antisemitic abuse may be generic, brief and sometimes non-verbal.

In cases involving physical or verbal abuse, it depends on the evidence of victims of, and witnesses to, antisemitic incidents, and may rely on the perpetrators’ physical appearance, language or other indicators. Sometimes, the evidence of victims or witnesses concerning what may have been a shocking and traumatic experience can be vague and disjointed.

Many incidents do not involve face-to-face contact between incident perpetrator and victim, so it is not always possible to obtain a physical description of the perpetrator.

It is obviously an easier task to analyse, for instance, a sample of hate mail, where the content of an antisemitic letter often reveals the political motivation of the perpetrator, although it would be a mistake to assume to know the ethnicity of a hate-mail sender on the basis of their political opinions.

Bearing in mind all these limitations, a physical description of the perpetrator was provided in 214 of the 639 incidents recorded by CST.

Of these, 101 were white (47 per cent); 12 were East European (six per cent); 16 were black (seven per cent); 63 were Asian (29 per cent); one was Far Eastern; and 21 were of Arab appearance (10 per cent).

Therefore, there were white perpetrators (taking white and East European together) in 53 per cent of incidents where a physical description of the perpetrator was given.

Incident perpetrator
Physical description Number %
White & E. European 113 53
Black 16 7
Far Eastern 1
Asian 63 29
Arab 21 10
Total 214 100

These figures partly reflect the fact that Britain’s Jewish communities tend to live in relatively diverse urban areas, but events during the year also have an impact on the ethnicity of incident perpetrators. In 2009, when there was a major trigger event involving Israel, the proportion of white incident perpetrators fell below 50 per cent (of those incidents where a description was provided).

CST has conducted analysis of antisemitic incident perpetrators by ethnic appearance since 2004. Since then, the only other year in which the proportion of incident perpetrators identified as white dropped below 50 per cent was 2006, which was also marked by a significant rise in incidents in response to events in the Middle East. In 2008, when there was no trigger event from the Middle East, the proportion of antisemitic incident perpetrators described as white was 63 per cent.

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