Anti-Semitism in the UK
Anti-Semitism in the UK
Many of those facing anti-Semitic attacks are now set to leave Britain.
A poll by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism which was published in January this year found that nearly half of all Britons thought that at least one anti-Semitic view presented to them was “definitely or probably true”. Another poll suggested that a significant minority of British people hold anti-Semitic views, including that Jews have too much power in the media, are greedy and dishonest in business. The Telegraph found that in parts of Britain, anti-Semitism is open, unashamed – and supported by the taxpayer.
Earlier this month the Community Security Trust published annual figures that showed that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2014 (1,168), were more than double those that were recorded in 2013 (535). It has been found that cities such as London and Manchester, were at the forefront of these increases, with Manchester alone seeing a 79 per cent rise in anti-Semitic incidents. One of the incidents that was reported involved the daubing of swastikas and the term “Jewish Slag” on gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in Manchester.
Those bearing the brunt of the attacks argue that anti-Semitism is coming from all sides: Radical Islam, the far-left and the far-right are culprits. It’s forcing the British Jewish community to look abroad for a safe haven.
Since the gun attack that killed three people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels last year and the murder by radical Islamists of four Jews at a kosher supermarket on the outskirts of Paris in January, there has been growing concern. Actress Maureen Lipman recently stated that she is considering leaving the UK because of the rising number of attacks on the Jewish community. Lipman bases her views on the economy, stating that when there are issues people usually “turn on the usual scapegoat. The usual suspect. The Jew.”
After the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, police patrols in Jewish areas have been stepped up amid fears of anti-Semitic violence. A survey that was conducted just after the attacks found that more than one in ten Jews, and 17 per cent of young Jews, had considered leaving Britain due to prejudice against Jews. One such example of this is the Gould family from Manchester who are leaving to resettle in America, as they no longer feel safe and believe that they have no choice. Although they do praise the Governments response to the problems they ultimately doubt that the government has the ability to stop anti-Semitism. Mrs Gould states that she wants to leave on her own terms and does not want to have to flee in fear again.
Fears of growing concern are not just hearsay. At a Jewish school in North West London, five year olds are being taught how to respond to a terrorist attack. There is a permanent security guard on the premise, and each of the classrooms has been fitted with new locks so they can be “invacuated”, their doors secured from inside to act as last-ditch defences between pupils and a killer.
Lipman rightly puts that there is one school of thought that states that the current anti-Semitic issues have arisen because of Israeli policies in the West Bank; however there has been anti-Semitism for the past 4,000 years. What makes all of this more heart wrenching is that the UK has been the safe haven for many throughout history . The fact the people no longer feel safe, particularly those that are born in the UK, shows that the Government has a massive problem on its hands. This problem needs to be solved before everyone no matter their beliefs, feel that they are no longer safe. As Jeremy Apfel, Chairman of Barnet Synagogue, has stated “the immediate lesson from France is that failure to stamp out anti-Semitism and attacks on Jews inevitably leads to attacks on democracy itself; historically the Jews have merely served as the hors d’oeuvres”.
Nina is in her Honours year at The University of Strathclyde in Glasgow studying History. She loves keeping fit and healthy at the gym and singing to her hearts content. Because of Nina's love of all things history related, she has a passion for reading, writing and researching. Nina is the Editor-in-Chief for an online magazine for female students at Strathclyde called Her Campus Strath and wants to continue her passion for writing after graduation.