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Anti-Semitic incidents in Britain rise for fourth straight year

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The number of anti-Semitic incidents documented in Britain increased for the fourth consecutive year in 2019, reaching a record tally of 1,805 cases.

Overall, the increase over 2018 was of seven per cent, but the category of assault increased by 27 per cent to 157 incidents, the Community Security Trust (CST), British Jewry’s largest watchdog on anti-Semitism, wrote in its annual report published Wednesday.

It’s the highest incident tally in the assault category ever reported to CST in a calendar year. Anti-Semitic vandalism rose by 11 per cent to 88 cases.

Among the motives ascertained in 495 cases overall, Labour anti-Semitism accounted for 45 per cent and the far right, a quarter of them. Anti-Zionist and Islamist motives accounted for another 25 per cent and 3.8 per cent, respectively.

Incident peaks correlated with periods when discourse around Jews and anti-Semitism “was prominent in news and politics due to the continuing controversy over allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party,” CST wrote.

The perpetrators were described in 560 of the incidents. Of these, 67 per cent were described as light-skinned Caucasians, 17 per cent were said to be dark-skinned Caucasians, 13 per cent were reported as black, and 10 per cent were said to be Arab.

“These proportions have fluctuated very little from 2018, and are broadly typical of a period without a significant trigger event from the Middle East,” CST wrote.

Marie van der Zyl, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, in a statement called the rise documented in the report “deeply depressing” and requiring counteraction. But, she added, “Britain remains a happy place for its Jewish community.”

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