2017 anti-Semitic incidents in the U.K. on the rise


CST recorded a 34 percent increase in the number of violent anti-Semitic assaults, from 108 in 2016 to 145 in 2017. There is no single, obvious explanation for this high total, which covers a broad range of violent incidents from common assault to actual bodily harm (ABH). None of these violent incidents were classified by CST as ‘Extreme Violence’, which would mean they involved potential grievous bodily harm (GBH) or threat to life.

The most common single type of incident recorded by CST in 2017 involved verbal abuse randomly directed at visibly Jewish people in public. In 356 incidents (a quarter of the overall total), the victims were Jewish people, male or female, attacked or abused while going about their daily business in public places. In at least 283 incidents, the victims were visibly Jewish, usually due to their religious or traditional clothing, school uniform or jewelry bearing Jewish symbols.

CST recorded 247 anti-Semitic incidents that involved social media in 2017, comprising 18 percent of the overall total of 1,382 incidents. This was a 15 percent fall from the 289 incidents involving social media that CST recorded in 2016, which was 21 percent of the total for that year. Incidents involving social media are only recorded by CST if they have been reported by either the victim or a witness; if the comment shows evidence of anti-Semitic content, motivation or targeting; and if the offender is based in the United Kingdom or has directly targeted a UK-based victim. These totals are indicative and in some ways understate the scale of the problem: targeted campaigns directed at individual victims often involve dozens of social media accounts sending hundreds or even thousands of tweets, images or posts within a concentrated timespan. It is possible that the fall in the number of recorded incidents involving social media in 2017 may be a positive consequence of social media companies’ efforts to tackle hate speech online, which, combined with Police arrests and prosecutions, have restricted the activities of some prolific online anti-Semites.

There were 81 incidents of Damage & Desecration of Jewish property in 2017; 1,038 incidents of Abusive Behavior, including verbal abuse, anti-Semitic graffiti, anti-Semitic abuse via social media and one-off cases of hate mail; 95 direct anti-Semitic threats; and 12 cases of mass-mailed anti-Semitic leaflets or emails.

Three-quarters of the 1,382 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in Greater London and Greater Manchester, the two largest Jewish communities in the United Kingdom. CST recorded 773 anti-Semitic incidents in Greater London in 2017, a fall of 7 percent from the 835 incidents recorded in London in 2016. In Greater Manchester CST recorded 261 anti-Semitic incidents, an increase of 27 percent from the 206 incidents recorded there in 2016. Beyond these two centers, CST recorded 348 anti-Semitic incidents in 80 locations around the United Kingdom, including 40 in Hertfordshire, 32 in Gateshead, 22 in Leeds, 15 in Brighton & Hove, 14 in Cambridge, and 12 in Liverpool.

CST Chief Executive David Delew said: “Hatred is rising and Jewish people are suffering as a result. This should concern everybody because it shows anger and division that threaten all of society. We have the support of Government and Police, but prosecutions need to be more visible and more frequent; while too many others act in ways that encourage anti-Semites and isolate Jews.”

A copy of CST’s 2017 Anti-Semitic Incidents Report can be downloaded here.