2010 Report on Anti-Semitism: London – you have a problem.

The Community Security Trust (CST) has once again produced sterling work in its recently released ‘’Antisemitic Incidents Report 2010.

The 639 reported incidents in 2010 are the second highest annual total since records began in 1984 and despite the 30% decrease in incidents when compared to 2009, the long-term trend of rising levels of antisemitic incidents in the UK over the past decade continues.

Of course the CST’s report represents the tip of the iceberg, as the organisation itself points out:


“Not all antisemitic incidents will be reported to CST and therefore the true figures will be higher than those recorded.”

The entire report makes for very disturbing reading, but some particularly worrying trends include the damage to property of private individuals – attacks on private homes, the number of incidents involving Jewish schools, schoolchildren and teachers, the prominence of attacks in the Greater Manchester area and the rise of violent anti-Semitic assaults as a proportion of the total incidents.

The then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown described the previous CST report, released in February 2010 and monitoring the incidents of 2009, as “deeply troubling”. The question many of us will be asking is how he and other members of the British establishment intend to deal with this disturbing and, thanks to the CST, well-documented trend of rising antisemitism in their country.  No less troubling perhaps is the fact that the British government leaves the recording of antisemitic hate crime to the Jewish community itself.

In a country which prides itself in being a liberal and multicultural democracy, one might expect a newspaper which describes itself as ‘the world’s leading liberal voice’ to place antisemitic hate crimes pretty much at the top of its ‘to do’ list. Unfortunately, we have yet to see this issue being taken up seriously by the Guardian.

In fact, other CST reports have cited the Guardian as a major purveyor of anti-Semitic discourse.   Those of us who monitor the content of ‘Comment is Free’ have little reason to believe that the next CST report on the subject of antisemitic discourse in Britain will show significant changes on that front.

As pointed out in this latest report, the first week in June 2010 – immediately following the incident aboard the ‘Mavi Marmara’ –  showed a spike in incidents of hate crimes against British Jews. At the time, CiF Watch recorded the publication of 37 opinion pieces, editorials and cartoons relating to the incident (excluding actual news items) between the dates 31/05/2010 and 11/06/2010.

76% of those articles were hostile towards Israel. Overall, the CiF coverage of this event cast Israel in the role of the aggressor and transgressor of international law, while severely downplaying–and often completely ignoring–the actions of the IHH in this incident and its links to terrorist organizations. ‘Just Journalism’ reported on the downplaying of the video evidence of events aboard the ship by the Guardian and other British media during the week after the incident.

“The findings raise serious questions about the willingness on the parts of The Guardian and The Independent to deal appropriately with evidence which supports Israel’s side of a contested story. Given the high-profile given by these same publications to stories involving serious allegations of wrongdoing by Israel, this is particularly noteworthy.”

Equally noteworthy is the Guardian’s subsequent under-reporting of the outcome of the Turkel Commission, the findings of which warranted a mere half article from the Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood.  In contrast, the UNHRC report into the same incident – which has been severely criticized both for the definition of its mission and its methodology – was more extensively covered on CiF, including one article with the sensationalist headline “UN report condemns Israeli ‘brutality’”.

The CST’s meticulous recording of antisemitic attacks and their decade-long rising trend is obviously extremely important, as of course is their other extensive work in advancing the security of the British Jewish community. However, in any normally functioning society the recording of, and fight against, hate crimes perpetrated against a minority cannot be left to the victims themselves.  One would expect to see much broader interest in the subject from those supposedly committed to anti-racism and the creation of an inclusive society and one might conclude that the Left-leaning liberal media should be expected to be at the forefront of that cause.

The trustees and board of directors of the Scott Trust need to urgently ask themselves whether their aspiration is to be part of the solution or to continue being part of the exacerbation of the problem.

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