UK records worst year for antisemitism after outbreak of Israel-Hamas war

By Thomson Reuters Feb 14, 2024 | 6:07 PM

By Sachin Ravikumar

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain recorded thousands of antisemitic incidents after the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas in October, making 2023 the worst year for UK antisemitism since 1984, when Jewish advisory body CST began recording such data, it said on Thursday.

The number of antisemitic incidents across the country reached 4,103, more than twice the figure in 2022, amid a surge of threats, hate speech, violence and damage to Jewish institutions and property, the Community Security Trust said.

The CST, which advises Britain’s estimated 280,000 Jews on security matters, said two-thirds of those incidents occurred on or after Oct. 7, when Hamas militants rampaged through southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostage.

That rise appeared, at least initially, to reflect a celebration of Hamas’ attacks rather than anger at Israel’s military reprisals in Gaza, the CST said its data suggested. The conflict has left at least 28,000 Palestinians dead, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, which does not provide a breakdown for combatant deaths.

The surge recorded after Oct. 7 alone exceeded all previous annual totals, said the CST, which has been recording antisemitic incidents in Britain for 40 years.


“British Jews are strong and resilient, but the explosion in hatred against our community is an absolute disgrace,” CST Chief Executive Mark Gardner said in a statement.

“Our community is being harassed, intimidated, threatened and attacked by extremists who also oppose society as whole … 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,” he said.

The CST recorded 266 cases of violent assaults last year, another all-time high, with half occurring in areas with significant Jewish communities, including north London and Manchester in northern England.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last year granted an extra 3 million pounds ($3.8 million) in funding for the CST, which provides security at Jewish institutions.

London’s Metropolitan Police have also pledged stronger action against hate crime linked to the Israel-Hamas conflict and have made over 400 related arrests as of last month.

The previous record for antisemitic incidents in Britain was in 2021, fueled by a rise in violence in Israel and Gaza.

Although 31% of the antisemitic incidents recorded last year were online, the CST said the figure was only indicative and the actual amount of anti-Jewish content on online platforms was much higher.

($1 = 0.7976 pounds)

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; Editing by Bernadette Baum)