London anti-Semitism soared during Gaza crisis: Police

AFP
London, United Kingdom Published: Jul 29, 2021, 07:45 AM(IST)

London city Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The hostilities between Israel and Hamas claimed 253 Palestinian lives in 11 days from May 10, according to Gaza's health ministry, while Gaza rocket fire killed 12 Israelis

Police recorded around four times as many anti-Semitic incidents in London during May's Gaza crisis than at any time in the last three years, the city's force said Thursday.

They reported 87 anti-Semitic incidents, 65 more than the previous highest monthly figure recorded since they began reporting the data in May 2018, London Metropolitan Police told Britain's Press Association news agency.

The hostilities between Israel and Hamas claimed 253 Palestinian lives in 11 days from May 10, according to Gaza's health ministry, while Gaza rocket fire killed 12 Israelis.

Disturbances also broke out in the Palestinian territories and between Jewish and Arab citizens in Israel during the conflict, which sparked protests across the world.

The crisis had repercussions for Jews in London, where the word "Hitler" was written on the ceiling in a block of flats and rocks were hurled at a Jewish home.

One resident in north London's Stamford Hill neighbourhood, which has a significant Hasidic Jewish community, said the tyres of more than 30 Jewish-owned cars were slashed.

The Community Security Trust (CST), a charity that protects British Jews from anti-Semitism, said 116 incidents across Britain had been reported in an 11-day period from May 8.

In May, police arrested four people after footage emerged showing them shouting anti-Semitic abuse from a car.

Two men were also charged in connection with an incident when a rabbi was struck on the head with a concrete brick near his synagogue.

Also read | Gaza conflict: Israel removes almost all emergency restrictions; Hamas claims victory

Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the time condemned the "intolerable" spate of anti-Semitic incidents in a meeting with British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has increased police patrols in Jewish neighbourhoods.

The CST recorded 1,668 anti-Semitic incidents in the UK in 2020 -- its third-highest annual figure -- and 1,813 in 2019.

Anti-Semitism accusations have dogged Britain's main opposition Labour party for years, particularly during the tenure of hard-left former leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Current leader Keir Starmer suspended Corbyn from the party last October after the latter's refusal to fully accept a report by Britain's human rights watchdog that criticised Labour's anti-Semitism problems under his leadership.

And an independent investigation in May concluded that the ruling Conservative party had issues with Islamophobia among individuals and within local associations.

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