Record number of antisemitic incidents recorded in 2021, says charity

The Community Security Trust said there were 2,255 anti-Jewish incidents in 2021 – up from 1,684 the previous year.

10 February 2022

Antisemitic abuse hit a record high in 2021, rising by a third from the previous year, a charity has said.

The Community Security Trust (CST), that records anti-Jewish incidents, recorded a total of 2,255 in 2021, up 34% from 1,684 the previous year.

There were peaks in the numbers reported in the summer at a time of heightened conflict between Israel and Palestine, with 661 in May alone, a record monthly total.

These included a convoy of cars covered with Palestinian flags being driven around St John’s Wood, north-west London, with passengers accused of using offensive language and issuing threats against Jews.

Antisemitic graffiti in north London from April 2021
Antisemitic graffiti in north London from April 2021 (Community Security Trust/PA)

The CST said that, last year, Manchester and London saw 155 instances of people shouting abuse from cars, over half of which were in May and June.

Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said: “These statistics are shocking and a stark reminder that the racism of antisemitism has not been eradicated. Our Jewish community has been subject to appalling hatred and it is through the strength and determination of the Community Security Trust that we continue in our work together to stop such terrible attacks.

“In addition to supporting the work of CST, I continue to support the police to ensure they have the resources to tackle these despicable incidents so that perpetrators can then be punished with the full force of the law.”

Nationally, across the whole year, there were 502 incidents that used far right or Nazi themes, including 90 where the Holocaust was celebrated.

The number of hate incidents involving schools hit 182, the most reported in any year and up from 54 in 2020, with 99 involving pupils or staff at non-faith schools, up from 14 in 2020.

The CST said: “It is unusual for such a high proportion of school-related incidents to take place at non-faith schools and CST supported many schoolchildren and teachers who felt isolated and fearful about returning to their place of education and work.”

There were 128 incidents where the victims or offenders were university students or academics, or involved student unions or other student bodies, up from 44 in 2020.

CST chief executive, Mark Gardner, said: “These record levels of anti-Jewish racism, reported by our Jewish community to CST and police, show how difficult last year was for Jews across Britain.

“These hatreds boil away, taking any excuse to publicly burst out against Jews. This is exactly what happened during and after the Israel-Gaza war of May 2021, from schools and universities, through to the carloads of people who repeatedly drove to Jewish areas and yelled vile abuse at anyone who looked Jewish.”

The Community Security Trust saw a record high number of incidents in 2021
The Community Security Trust saw a record high number of incidents in 2021 (Community Security Trust/PA)

The CST figures include 176 violent antisemitic incidents, including three classed as extreme because they involved GBH or a threat to life, and 82 instances of damage or desecration of Jewish property.

It recorded 1,844 incidents of abusive behaviour such as abuse verbally or via social media, antisemitic graffiti, and one-off hate mail. There were 10 incidents of mass-mailed antisemitic leaflets or emails.

The charity received 16 reports of so-called Zoom-bombing, where video calls are hijacked, involving antisemitic material, although the total number of online incidents fell by 13% from 638 in 2020 to 552 in 2021.

The CST said this does not reflect the scale of online incidents because one can involve hundreds or thousands of messages.

Figures released by the charity showed that there were 1,254 antisemitic incidents in Greater London, up by a third from 941 in 2020; and 284 in Greater Manchester, an increase of 86% from the 153 recorded in 2020.

Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, said: “It is truly appalling that incidents of anti-Jewish hate have now reached record levels – and for this to be increasing shows just how far we have to go to remove the stain of antisemitism from our society.

“We need urgent action to tackle these vile incidents wherever they arise, be it in schools, on our streets or online. Hatred is unacceptable in all its forms, and it is our responsibility to stamp it out once and for all.”

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