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Not enough being done to tackle antisemitism

New figures obtained by Campaign Against Antisemitism show that hate crime targeting Jews has escalated for the third year running, reaching the worst level on record.

By Stephanie Otty | Published: 16th July 2017 News Updates

In 2016, antisemitic crime rose by 14.9% against 2015, or 44.5% against 2014. There were 1,078 antisemitic crimes in 2016 and a consistently elevated level of antisemitic crime has become the new normality for British Jews.

Police forces recorded 105 violent antisemitic crimes in 2016, meaning that on average, 1 in 10 antisemitic crimes involved an act of violence against a Jewish member of the public. Violent antisemitic crime continued to disproportionately affect smaller Jewish communities outside London and Manchester, as it has in past years.

Despite promises to crack down on antisemitic crime, the number of antisemitic crimes charged in 2016 decreased drastically, again. 2016 saw the number of antisemitic crimes charged plummet by 30.5% compared to 2015, or 35.5% against 2014, when antisemitic crime began to surge. In 2016, only 89 antisemitic crimes resulted in charges being brought meaning that only 8.3% of hate crimes against Jews resulted in charges. Astonishingly, 48.9% of the police forces which received reports of antisemitic crime did not charge a single one of them.

A paltry 15 cases of antisemitic crime were prosecuted in 2016, of which only 1 was a violent crime. In 2015, 12 antisemitic crimes were prosecuted, only 3 of which involved violence. There is no prosecution data for 2014.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has recently resorted to privately prosecuting antisemites itself, and in March won a landmark judicial review against the Crown Prosecution Service over its decision not to charge a neo-Nazi.

Antisemitic crime appears to be worsening in the initial months of 2017, with incidents including the firebombing of kosher restaurants in Manchester, a man stopped by police in London after brandishing a meat cleaver and machete whilst chasing after Jews, and police closing down London’s iconic shopping streets to make way for a major pro-Hizballah march.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has had to repeat its recommendations from last year’s report this year because, despite many promises, they have not been implemented by law enforcement bodies. The recommendations are simple and include basic measures such as producing specific training and guidance on antisemitic hate crime for officers and prosecutors, instructing Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to review all police forces’ responses to antisemitic crime, appointing a senior officer in each force with responsibility for overseeing the response to antisemitic hate crime, and requiring the Crown Prosecution Service to record and regularly publish details of cases involving antisemitism and their outcomes, as police forces are already required to do.

In a statement, the Rt Hon. Amber Rudd MP, Home Secretary, responded to the report, saying: “Hate crime of any type is not acceptable. Everyone in this country has the right to be safe from violence and persecution. We are working together to tackle antisemitic hate crime in all its forms and using the full force of the law to protect every person in the UK. Our Hate Crime Action Plan has encouraged further action against hate crime across the police and criminal justice system. This includes encouraging more victims to report incidents to the police. We will consider the report’s recommendations carefully as we develop new ways to rid the country of this sickening crime.”

In the foreword to the report, Gideon Falter, Chairman of Campaign Against Antisemitism, commented: “2016 was the worst year on record for antisemitic crime, yet instead of protecting British Jews, the authorities prosecuted merely fifteen cases of antisemitic hate crime, including one solitary violent crime. The failure of police forces and the Crown Prosecution Service to protect British Jews is a betrayal. The solutions are simple, but whilst the right promises are being made, little has been implemented. The result is that British Jews continue to endure intolerable levels of hate crime. Britain has the political will to fight antisemitism and strong laws with which to do it, but those responsible for tackling the rapidly growing racist targeting of British Jews are failing to enforce the law. There is a very real danger of Jewish citizens emigrating, as has happened elsewhere in Europe unless there is radical change.”