Increase in antisemitic incidents in CST report
7 February 2019
So, for the third year running, CST’s Annual Antisemitic Incidents Report shows a record high of antisemitism. What is going on? The answer might seem straightforward, that obviously there is more antisemitism, but this is a serious subject so it requires a bit more analysis than just that.
The figures themselves are a major under-estimate. Studies show that 75% of antisemitic incidents do not get reported to CST, Police or anyone else. I would think that the lack of reporting is probably even higher than that in the north London, north Manchester and Gateshead kehillos, despite the many good working partnerships that CST now enjoys.
Then, there is everything that happens on the Internet and in social media. For example, a recent CST research project showed that 170,000 antisemitic searches were made on Google in Britain: but this is not included in our annual report, because it would make the statistical comparisons with previous years meaningless.
What matters is not the actual total, but the fact that CST’s methodology is entirely consistent from one year to the next. This makes the figures reliable for comparison with previous years. It means we can see what is happening, even if the picture is not a pleasant one.
The incidents total is high but there is very little violence. Mainly, we are experiencing verbal abuse. It is as if people are saying hateful things that may have been in their heads, but they felt unable to say. Now, they feel they can say it.
Previous rises in antisemitism were linked to wars involving Israel. Personally, I think the 2009 and 2014 wars (against Hizbollah and Hamas respectively) were far worse in terms of antisemitic violence and fear, compared to what happened over the last year. What we saw in 2018, as with 2017 and 2016, is nothing to do with Israel. Instead, it is about Britain and the condition of British politics and society, with controversies around both Labour and Brexit causing a rise in antisemitism. If, or when, Israel is at war again in the future, the impact of that will come on top of what we are seeing now. It could become a very difficult situation.
In all of this, CST will do everything it can to help all of our Jewish communities. Our role is not to publicise antisemitism, but to understand it and to present the facts in as responsible a manner as possible: because that is how together we can best work against antisemitism and keep Jewish life thriving. Please, be assured that CST will do everything it can on your behalf, but your support in that effort is needed now more than ever.