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Anti-Semitic Incidents Reach Record High In UK For Third Year Running

(DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter

Anti-Semitic incidents reached a record high in the United Kingdom for the third year in a row, according to a Jewish watchdog group’s Thursday report.

The Community Security Trust (CST), which also serves as a security group for Jewish communities in the U.K., reported that anti-Semitic incidents increased by 16 percent in 2018 over the previous year, according to The Times of Israel. CST recorded 1,652 anti-Semitic incidents in 2018, nearly 150 of which were linked to the Labour Party, the members of which face multiple accusations of supporting and espousing anti-Semitic views. (RELATED: Congressman Zeldin Releases Anti-Semitic Voicemail Left For Him)

The number of incidents recorded in 2018 is reportedly the highest since CST first started recording anti-Semitic incidents in 1985. The number is also an increase from those of the previous two years, with 1,420 reported for 2017 and 1,375 reported for 2016. While the report did note that 2018 saw a decrease in reported violent anti-Semitic incidents from 2017’s 149 to 123, it was also the first year since 2015 for which an incident of “extreme violence” occurred.

CST characterized extreme violence as “any attack potentially causing loss of life of grievous bodily harm.”

“The victim was attacked and cut with a knife, punched and kicked, while the offender stated, ‘I’m going to kill you, you f***ing Jew,'” CST said of the incident of extreme violence.

The most common anti-Semitic incidents reported were cases of verbal abuse directed at Jewish individuals, as well as the hostile targeting of Jewish homes, places of worship and communities with harassment or discriminatory treatment. The report also stated that 45 percent of 2018’s incidents involved politically extreme terminology from either neo-Nazi ideology, pro-Palestinian ideology, or a range of both and others.

The report is the latest indicator that anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise, not only in the U.K. but also in mainland Europe. Jonathan Sacks, who served as the head of the U.K. Jewish community for 22 years, warned in September 2018 that many U.K. Jews were considering leaving the country out of concern for their own safety. Sacks’ warning came in the wake of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s public criticism of British Zionists.

A 2018 survey also revealed that the number of Europeans who have heard of the Holocaust is decreasing, with 1 in 20 Europeans polled saying they had never heard of it and 1 in 5 French citizens saying the same. As of the end of 2016, 40,000 Jews had left France because of rising anti-Semitic incidents.

“Three years of rising antisemitic incidents shows the scale of the problem facing the Jewish community,” said CST Chief Executive David Delew. “This is happening across society and across the country and it reflects deepening divides in our country and our politics. Jewish people are on the receiving end of this hatred but it must not be left to us to tackle alone.”

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