Anti-Jewish online hate up by more than a third, says charity
Incidents of anti-Jewish hate online have risen by more than a third, according to a charity.
Hundreds of antisemitic incidents were reported in the first six months of the year, more than a quarter of which took place on the internet, the Community Security Trust (CST) said.
It recorded a total of 803 instances of anti-Jewish hate recorded between January and June, with more than 100 incidents taking place each month.
Noting that there was no “single trigger event prompting a spike in 2023”, it said the consistently high volume of monthly reported incidents “is now typical of the levels recorded in the UK, levels that were unprecedented prior to 2017”.
The total for the first six months of 2023 is the sixth-highest total reported to CST in the first six months of any year, and is down 2% from the 823 antisemitic incidents recorded in the same period last year.
There were some 210 reported for January to June 2023, making up 26% of the total.
This was a 37% rise on the 153 online incidents reported in the same period in 2022.
Almost two thirds (64%) of the online incidents occurred on Twitter, now known as X, totalling 134.
The CST said this was a 79% increase from the 75 incidents on Twitter recorded in the first six months of 2022.
It added: “Comparing these two periods, during which Twitter changed ownership and its policies for dealing with harmful content were amended, indicates that both the amount of reported online antisemitism on Twitter and its proportional contribution to the overall online incident total have risen.”
The increase in online hate via Twitter is alarming but entirely unsurprising, given the significant policy shifts under its new ownership. We commend CST on this report and hope that its findings will be noted by lawmakers
CST chief executive Mark Gardner noted the rise in online incidents appearing to correspond with “recent changes at Twitter” and the Board of Deputies of British Jews said the increase is “alarming but entirely unsurprising, given the significant policy shifts” under the social networking site’s new ownership.
Mr Gardner said: “Every single month, British Jews are reporting over 100 antisemitic hate incidents to CST. It shows the base level of anti-Jewish hatred, but it also shows the importance of the tone and policies that are set by leaders and influencers.”
In a statement, the Board of Deputies said: “It is profoundly concerning that the CST Antisemitic Incidents Report for the first half of 2023 presents a new norm where more than 100 incidents of anti-Jewish hate were recorded in every month.
“In particular, the increase in online hate via Twitter is alarming but entirely unsurprising, given the significant policy shifts under its new ownership. We commend CST on this report and hope that its findings will be noted by lawmakers.”
Among other incidents recorded were 666 in the category ofabusive behaviour, which covers verbal abuse, antisemitic graffiti and one-off examples of hate mail.
There were 74 antisemitic incidents recorded in the category of assault, one fewer than the 75 incidents in this category in the same period last year, while cases of damage and desecration of Jewish property fell by 43%, from 30 such incidents to 17.
But the number and proportion of incidents involving minors increased, the CST said.
Of the 415 antisemitic incidents where CST obtained a description of the age of the offender, 103 involved offenders under the age of 18.
The charity said this was the highest proportion of child offenders reported in the first six months of any year since 2015.
Anyone who thinks the issue has gone away needs to read this report and see how antisemitism manages to persist and find new outlets to threaten, abuse and harm Jewish citizens of all ages
Similarly, minors were victims in 88 incidents in the first half of 2023where CST obtained a description of the victim’s age, and a further 28 incidents targeted mixed groups of adults and children.
This meant children were among the victims in a quarter of all antisemitic incidents where CST obtained an age description, the charity said.
The Government’s independent adviser on antisemitism, Lord Mann, said: “Anyone who thinks the issue has gone away needs to read this report and see how antisemitism manages to persist and find new outlets to threaten, abuse and harm Jewish citizens of all ages.
“The co-operation between government, criminal justice and the CST remains the cornerstone of how we monitor and challenge antisemitism and the good news is that there is a consensus across Parliament about this being a high and continuous priority.”
A Government spokesperson said: “There is no place in our country for anti-Jewish hatred in any form – it is abhorrent and will not be tolerated.
“The UK has some of the strongest legislation in the world, but we recognise there is more work to be done and will continue to push for prosecution where religious or racially motivated criminal activity occurs. We will continue to work closely with Jewish communities and the police to tackle hate crime.”
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