Britain must act immediately to halt soaring anti-Semitism



JTA – Instituting measures to deal with hate crimes on social media and a government fund to protect synagogues are among 35 recommendations offered by a British parliamentary inquiry into rising anti-Semitism.

Britain must take immediate action to quash the rise in anti-Semitism in the country, the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry said in its report, which was released Feb. 9.

“Whilst the Jewish community is diverse and multifaceted, there is a palpable concern, insecurity, loneliness and fear following the summer’s rise in incidents and subsequent world events,” the report said. “A more sophisticated understanding of anti-Semitism is needed, together with better defined boundaries of acceptable discourse.”

In response to the report’s recommendations, Prime Minister David Cameron said, “This is a hugely important cross-party report. Tackling anti-Semitism goes right to the heart of what we stand for as a country.

“This report has a vital role to play. There can be no excuses. No disagreements over foreign policy or politics can ever be allowed to justify anti-Semitism or any other form of racism, prejudice or extremism.”

The Community Security Trust, Britain’s Jewish security watchdog group, reported last week that it had recorded 1,168 anti-Semitic incidents for 2014, the highest annual total ever and more than double the previous year.

A poll conducted in conjunction with the inquiry, also released Feb. 9, found that 55 percent of Britons felt that they would be able to explain to someone else what anti-Semitism was, but only 37 percent of those aged 18 to 24 felt that they could. Some 80 percent believed the murder of four Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris was anti-Semitic.

The survey of 1,001 British adults in the third week of January also showed that Britons believe there are about 2.7 million Jews living in Britain, though the real number is about 250,000, and that 15 percent felt Jews “talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.”