Report: Decrease in antisemitic incidents in UK, though numbers remain high

February 12, 2021 by JNS
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A new report released on Thursday shows a slight decrease in the number of antisemitic incidents in 2020 across the United Kingdom, even though the numbers still remain quite high.

View of the Piccadilly Square in London on Nov. 27, 2017. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

These were the findings of the United Kingdom’s Jewish communal security group, Community Security Trust.

According to the CST, a total of 1,668 antisemitic incidents were recorded during 2020—an 8 per cent drop over 2019’s 1,813 incidents—making it the third-highest yearly total of antisemitic incidents since the group began keeping records.

The highest monthly totals in 2020 were January (188 incidents), February (140 incidents), June (178 incidents) and July (180 incidents). “They correlate neatly with the periods in the year that lockdown measures were either not-yet-existent or most relaxed (in the case of the latter two),” said the report.

Of the 1,668 antisemitic incidents:

  • 97 were assaults, down from 158 in 2019
  • 72 were classified as “Damage & Desecration” to Jewish property down from 88 incidents in 2019
  • 19 reports of online events “hijacked” with antisemitic content
  • 85 incidents of threats to people, property or institutions were reported in 2020 down from 99 incidents the previous year.

A total of 328 antisemitic incidents were reported in January and February before the coronavirus pandemic began, while another 358 were recorded in June and July when lockdown measures were relaxed in the United Kingdom.

Also explained in the report was “a new type of antisemitic incident” that surfaced during the pandemic in which educational, religious and social online events were “hijacked with antisemitic content,” also called “Zoombombings.’ ”

The report said 19 “Zoombombings” were recorded last year and “this problem became so prevalent CST had to develop specialist online security advice to counter it.”

CST chief executive Mark Gardner commented on the report saying: “CST had hoped that antisemitic incidents would fall by more than this during 2020. The fact that they didn’t means we must remain even more vigilant for 2021, especially as the economic impact of COVID-19 may cause more extremism and division within society.”


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