Anti-Semitism: £14m for Jewish community after record hate incidents

Home Secretary Priti Patel says figure are ‘appalling’

A Star of David on the floor of York Minster to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day
(Image credit: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

Britain’s Jewish community is to receive £14m from the government for security at schools and synagogues after the number of anti-Semitic incidents hit a record high last year.

The Community Security Trust (CST) - which advises the UK’s estimated 280,000 Jews on security matters - recorded 1,805 anti-Semitic incidents last year, an increase of 7% on 2018. The number of violent anti-Semitic assaults rose by 25% year-on-year to 158.

Home Secretary Priti Patel described the figures as “appalling” and pledged to push for “greater collaboration, both across government, policing, the courts and community groups, to remove this shameful stain on our society”, the BBC reports.

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The government’s security grant was first introduced in 2015 following a series of terror attacks against Jewish targets across Europe and has been renewed yearly following security assessments by the Home Office.

In the five years since it began, a total of £79.2m has been provided for security measures through the CST, with funding for the next financial year rising by £600,000 to £14m.

“Most of the funding will go towards protective measures for Jewish schools,” says The Daily Telegraph, which adds that “while the funding period starts on Wednesday, all synagogues remain closed and schools only remain open for the children of those conducting essential work, as part of coronavirus lockdown”.

The latest rise in recorded anti-Jewish incidents has been attributed in part to a spike in online abuse. Of the total reported to the CST last year, 697 incidents occurred online, an increase of 82% from 2018.

The charity’s chief executive, David Delew, said it was clear “social media and mainstream politics are places where anti-Semitism and racism need to be driven out if things are to improve in the future”, reports Al Jazeera.

Almost two-thirds of the anti-Semitic incidents in 2019 took place in Greater London (947) and Greater Manchester (223), which are home to the UK’s two largest Jewish communities.

The number of incidents recorded in the London borough of Barnet - which has the largest Jewish population of any UK borough - accounted for 18% of the national total, at 327.

The CST recorded 224 anti-Semitic incidents that were related to the Labour Party, an increase from 148 in 2018.

Louise Haigh, vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-Semitism, said the numbers made for “depressing reading”.

“It is shameful the Jewish community has been subjected to another year of racist abuse. We are beyond a stage of saying that more has to be done. We require immediate action,” Haigh added.

The national policing lead for hate crime, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, said there were “far too many people who act illegally, fuelled by global events, divisions in our society or historical bigotries”.

The charity’s report said that a rise in intolerance since Britain voted in 2016 to quit the EU had contributed to an atmosphere in which people might feel able to express their “hatred of otherness”.

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