CST Blog

Antisemitic Incidents Report 2023

15 February 2024

CST’s Antisemitic Incidents Report 2023, published today, shows 4,103 instances of anti-Jewish hate recorded across the UK in 2023. This is the highest annual total ever reported to CST. It is a 147% rise from the 1,662 antisemitic incidents in 2022, and 81% higher than the previous yearly record of 2,261 incidents, reported in 2021. CST recorded 1,684 antisemitic incidents in 2020, and 1,813 in 2019.

A further 2,185 potential incidents were reported to CST that are not included among this report’s statistics as, upon investigation, they were not deemed to be antisemitic. Many of these incidents involve suspicious activity or possible hostile reconnaissance at Jewish locations, criminal activity affecting Jewish people and buildings, and anti-Israel activity that did not include antisemitic language, motivation or targeting.

The record total of anti-Jewish hate incidents in 2023 is a result of the unparallelled volume of antisemitism perpetrated following the Hamas terror attack on Israel on 7 October. Of the 4,103 instances of anti-Jewish hate reported, 2,699 (66%) occurred on or after 7 October. This figure alone exceeds any previous annual antisemitic incident total recorded by CST, and marks an increase of 589% from the 392 instances of antisemitism reported to CST over the same time period in 2022.

There were 1,330 instances of antisemitism were reported to CST in October, 2023, more than the three previous highest monthly totals combined: May 2021 (661 incidents), July 2014 (317 incidents), and January 2009 (289 incidents). These spikes also reflected the surge in anti-Jewish reactions to the escalation of conflicts involving Israel. In 2023, the increase in antisemitism following 7 October occurred on a larger scale. Between 1 January and 6 October, CST had recorded an average of five antisemitic incidents per day; from 7 October to 31 December, this rose to an average of 31 antisemitic incidents per day.

The first incident inspired by Hamas’ attack was reported to CST at 12:55pm on 7 October, when a vehicle drove past a synagogue in Hertfordshire with a Palestinian flag attached, windows wound down and an occupant shaking their fist in the air towards the synagogue where congregants were celebrating the festival of Simchat Torah. CST recorded 31 cases of anti-Jewish hate on that day, compared to ten the day before. Daily totals increased over the coming days, peaking on 11 October with 80 antisemitic incidents – the highest number ever reported to CST on a single day. In the week following 7 October, CST recorded 416 anti-Jewish hate incidents, higher than any subsequent week. It indicates that it was celebration of Hamas’ attack, rather than anger towards Israel’s military response in Gaza, that prompted the unprecedented levels of antisemitism across the country.

Events in the Middle East informed the language and content of incidents reported to CST. The most common form of anti-Jewish discourse used in antisemitic incidents throughout the year either referenced or was linked to Israel, Palestine, the Hamas terror attack, or the subsequent war. This rhetoric was evident in 1,774 (43%) of the 4,103 cases reported to CST, rising from the 246 recorded in 2022 – a year without a significant trigger event in the region. Of these, 85% happened in the aftermath of Hamas’ attack. A total of 1,299 antisemitic incidents exhibited anti-Zionist motivation (compared to 149 in 2022) alongside antisemitic language or targeting while the terms “Zionism” or “Zionist” were used on 260 occasions, often as euphemisms for “Judaism” and “Jew”, or alongside other antisemitic language. In at least 427 instances, the phrase “Free Palestine” was employed in speech or writing in an antisemitic way. Although not an inherently antisemitic statement, each of these cases were deemed as such because these words were used to abuse Jewish people or institutions simply because they were Jewish, or formed part of a larger outburst including explicitly anti-Jewish sentiments.

These incidents form part of the 2,631 cases wherein CST recorded at least one political, religious and racist discourse, conspiracy theory or ideology; 233 (9%) of these 2,631 reports combined two or more. There were 955 antisemitic incidents in 2023 in which the offender made reference to Hitler, the Nazis, or the Holocaust; an increase of 104% from the 469 such incidents reported in 2022, when it was the most common type of discourse. Among these 955 incidents, there were 70 cases of Holocaust denial and 184 of Holocaust celebration. One hundred and eighteen (64%) of these 184 incidents that glorified the Holocaust occurred after 7 October and followed one of two distinctive trends. Perpetrators either glorified Hamas’ act of terror as a repeat of the Nazis extermination of the Jews during the Holocaust, or lamented Hitler’s failure to eliminate world Jewry entirely, in the context of Israel’s existence and response to the Hamas attack. There were 243 incidents wherein the offender directly compared Israel with the Nazis, thereby bridging Holocaust- and Israel-related discourses (and counted amongst the totals for each), rising from 32 such incidents reported in 2022. One hundred and twenty-two antisemitic incidents recorded by CST in 2023 contained discourse relating to Islam and Muslims, over four times the 27 reported in 2022. In 48 incidents, another religious ideology was present, compared to 31 in 2022.

CST recorded 266 incidents in the category of Assault in 2023, a rise of 96% from the 136 incidents of this type reported in 2022, and the most ever recorded in a year. They form 6% of the annual total, down from their proportion of 8% in the two previous years. None of these incidents was severe enough to be classed as Extreme Violence, compared to one incident in 2022.

Cases of Damage & Desecration of Jewish property increased by 146% from 74 incidents in 2022 to 182 in 2023, the highest ever annual figure in this category. There were 305 incidents reported to CST in the category of Threats in 2023, a rise of 196% from the 103 incidents of this type recorded in 2022, and is also this category’s highest ever annual total. CST recorded 22 incidents in the category of mass-produced antisemitic Literature in 2023, increasing by 144% from the nine such incidents recorded in 2022. There were 3,328 incidents in the category of Abusive Behaviour in 2023, more than in any other year and a rise of 149% from the 1,339 instances of Abusive Behaviour reported in 2022. This figure alone eclipses the incident total across all categories recorded in any preceding year, and forms 81% of all antisemitic incidents reported to CST in 2023.

Just as during previous wars involving Israel, a sharp rise in school-related anti-Jewish hate was reported to CST. In 2023, there were 87 antisemitic incidents recorded at Jewish schools. An additional 111 incidents involved Jewish schoolchildren away from school, often on their way to or from home. One hundred and twenty-seven incidents involved Jewish schoolchildren or staff at non-faith schools. This constitutes a record annual total of 325 antisemitic incidents affecting people and property in the school sector, an increase of 232% from 98 such incidents recorded in 2022. Of these, 229 (70%) took place after 7 October.

Anti-Jewish hate was also reported in record quantities within the sphere of higher education. In 2023, CST recorded 182 antisemitic incidents in which the victims or offenders were students or academics, or which involved student unions, societies or other representative bodies. It is an increase of 203% from the 60 such incidents recorded in 2022. Seventy-two of these 182 university-related incidents took place on campus or university property, and 110 away from campus, of which 77 were online. Of these 182 incidents, 148 (81%) occurred following 7 October, and 134 (74%) overtly referred to Israel and events in the Middle East over the course of the year.

CST recorded 1,282 cases of online antisemitism in 2023, more than in any previous year, and a 257% increase from the 359 online incidents reported in 2022. These form 31% of the total of 4,103 antisemitic incidents in 2023, whereas in 2022 online incidents constituted 22% of the annual total. Of the 1,282 online incidents recorded in 2023, 704 occurred on X (formerly Twitter), a 249% rise from the 202 instances of anti-Jewish hate on X reported in 2022. On X, antisemitism was more likely to display an ideological strand of antisemitic rhetoric beyond basic insult and abuse of Jews. Among the 704 X-based incidents, 648 (92%) contained at least one specific discourse conveying a political, ideological or religious motivation on the part of the offender, or used conspiracy theories or stereotypes about Jewish people. This was the case in 423 (73%) of the 578 reports of antisemitism that took place via other online services and platforms.

In 2023, 2,410 antisemitic incidents were reported to have taken place in Greater London, rising by 161% from 2022’s total of 923 London-based incidents. CST recorded 555 antisemitic incidents in Greater Manchester, an increase of 163% from the 211 incidents in the corresponding area in 2022. In both cases, these are record annual totals for anti-Jewish hate incidents in these locations, and their combined contribution to the overall figure is 72%, slightly higher than 68% in each of the two preceding years. These communal hubs are home to the largest Jewish populations in the UK, which remain the principal targets of antisemitism. Within Greater London, there were 323 instances of antisemitism reported: among London’s boroughs, more were only recorded in Barnet (864 incidents). It is unusual for Westminster to have the second-highest incident total but, as the capital’s political hub, it was the location of many of the anti-Israel demonstrations post 7 October. While many of their attendees were there in peaceful protest, these marches attracted individuals who were reported for antisemitic placards or hate speech. It was also the site of many of the vigils for Hamas’ victims, which were sometimes targeted by passers-by with anti-Jewish activity. In total, at least 44 of the Westminster-based incidents took place at, or on the way to or from, anti-Israel protests or vigils for the hostages, and two occurred at public Menorah lightings.

Apart from Greater London and Greater Manchester, the police regions with the highest levels of reported antisemitism in 2023 were Hertfordshire with 112 incidents, Essex with 75, West Yorkshire with 75, Scotland with 68, and West Midlands with 63. For the first time ever, antisemitic incidents were recorded in every single police region in the UK.

Read the full Antisemitic Incidents Report 2023.

 CST Chief Executive Mark Gardner said:

“British Jews are strong and resilient, but the explosion in hatred against our community is an absolute disgrace. It occurs in schools, universities, workplaces, on the streets and all over social media. Our community is being harassed, intimidated, threatened and attacked by extremists who also oppose society as whole. We thank the government and police for their support, but this is a challenge for everyone and we condemn the stony silence from those sections of society that eagerly call out racism in every other case, except when it comes to Jew hate.”

Home Secretary James Cleverly MP said:

“The rise in antisemitic hatred and abuse we have seen in the UK in recent months is utterly deplorable. We’ve taken strong steps to confront this head on – increasing funding for protective security at Jewish schools and places of worship, working with the police to ensure that hate crime and expressions of support for the terrorist organisation Hamas are met with the full force of the law, and proscribing Hizb ut-Tahrir, an antisemitic organisation that actively promotes and encourages terrorism. But we know the Jewish community need to continue to see that tackling antisemitism is a priority for us. I recently met with members of the community, including the very professional Community Security Trust who have been doing such vital work, and heard first-hand the impact on their feeling of safety. I will do everything in my power to ensure they are safe, and just as importantly feel safe.”

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said:

 “The appalling and intolerable rise in antisemitism we have seen over recent months is a stain on our society and we must never relent in our work to root it out. We must not allow events unfolding internationally to play out in increased hatred and prejudice here in our communities. There must be zero-tolerance for antisemitism in Britain and those who proliferate that poison on the streets and online must face the full force of the law. I want to thank CST for the remarkable and tireless work they do, alongside the police, to keep our Jewish communities safe, but these record high levels are an urgent reminder of the responsibility on all of us to stamp out the scourge of antisemitism wherever it is found.”

HM Government’s Independent Adviser on Antisemitism, Lord Mann said:

“The figures noted in CST’s Antisemitic Incidents Report 2023 should be a reminder to British civil society of the serious nature of antisemitism and the impact that it has on the Jewish community. As we have seen over the years, when tensions rise in the Middle East there is an increase in antisemitism around the world however this scale is unprecedented and is, for the first time ever, widespread across every police region in the United Kingdom. This country will not tolerate the abuse or intimidation of any of its citizens and I will continue to make sure that it remains a safe place for our Jewish community."

Paul Giannasi, the National Policing Advisor for hate crime, said:

“We all watched in horror on 7th October as details of the terrorist attacks of Hamas emerged, and our thoughts remain with all involved. Sadly, we now know that the events of that day were a catalyst for some to spread hate and division here in the UK. A national policing response was quickly established as soon as the severity of the initial attacks by Hamas became clear. This work links with, and functions alongside, established Counter Terrorism Policing structures, who have continued to lead on protective security. This report starkly outlines the unacceptable abuse suffered by Jewish communities here as the conflict progressed. However, our long-standing and trusted relationship with CST helped us to swiftly understand the impact antisemitic hate crimes were having on our society and to look for ways to mitigate the harm they cause. The collaboration at a national and local level enabled swift responses to threats and challenged us where necessary. As emotive as this situation has been across all our communities, we have been clear that there is absolutely no excuse for anybody using it to engage in criminality, and that we will not tolerate hate crime. We have made arrests and are well prepared to continue to do so. The UK remains amongst the safest places in the world for Jewish people to live but we understand that this unacceptable rise in antisemitism and the widespread fear of crime in everyday life damages our society. We will continue to work alongside CST and other partners to reassure communities and bring hate crime offenders to justice. The right to live free from targeted abuse is a fundamental right that we all share and we will continue to work to bring offenders to justice. I encourage anyone who suffers such a crime to report it, either to the police or to CST.”

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