Antisemitic incidents in East Kilbride and CST's response
21 September 2009
This week's Jewish Chronicle carries a report of antisemitic incidents directed at a community of Messianic Jews in East Kilbride, Scotland. This concludes with the sentence: "But the Community Security Trust (CST) has distanced itself from the group, not considered halachically Jewish."
This sentence risks misrepresenting CST's position in regard to these incidents, or, indeed, any other antisemitic incidents, which is in fact guided by the apparent motivation of the incident perpetrator, not the Jewish status of the victim. This is explained in our leaflet, Definitions of Antisemitic Incidents, which states:
CST classifies as an antisemitic incident any malicious act aimed at Jewish people, organisations or property, where there is evidence that the incident has antisemitic motivation or content, or that the victim was targeted because they are (or are believed to be) Jewish. [emphasis added]
The leaflet also makes it clear, in the section headed "Abusive Behaviour", that CST will record incidents as antisemitic even where the incident victims are not Jewish, if there is evidence that the perpetrators were motivated by antisemitism or expressed antisemitic language.
In order to clarify our position and to avoid further misunderstanding, CST has sent the following letter to the Jewish Chronicle, for publication in their next edition:
Last week's Jewish Chronicle reported that CST had "distanced itself" from a group "not considered halachically Jewish" in East Kilbride, Scotland, that has suffered antisemitic graffiti at its meeting place. This risks misleading readers about our response and requires clarification.
After the JC reporter brought the incident to CST's attention, our northern office discussed it directly with local Police, Scottish Jewish community leadership and Glasgow CST. We all agreed that the graffiti would be recorded and treated as an antisemitic incident as it was clearly so in its content and motivation, regardless of the targeted group proclaiming Jesus ("Yeshua") to be the "Messiah of Israel". CST forwarded local media coverage of the incident to the JC reporter.
So, this was certainly not a case of CST "distancing" itself from an antisemitic incident. Indeed, CST does not make halachic judgements as to the Jewishness of antisemitic incident victims. Rather, after some research and much communication with those on the ground locally, it seemed obvious that the Police were not only best qualified to deal with the case: but that they were already fully doing so.