LONDON: Antisemitic incidents in Britain surged by 36 per cent in 2016 to a record high, according to a new report by a Jewish group released today. The Community Security Trust (CST) said 1,309 antisemitic incidents were recorded in 2016, well above the previous record of 1,182 incidents in 2014. Most of the incidents were classed as "abusive behaviour", including verbal abuse, hate mail and graffiti. The CST blamed the rise on a series of factors, including heated debates over alleged antisemitism in the main opposition Labour Party and the Brexit referendum.
Incidents were spread more uniformly throughout the year, with over 100 incidents recorded every month from May to December. Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, a representative body, said: "While the UK remains a very good place for the Jewish community, these highest-ever figures are deeply worrying. "It is clear that combating antisemitism will take a concerted effort by the country's political leadership, government and civil society," he said.
The figures come as Policing Minister Brandon Lewis announced that overall hate crime had fallen to similar levels as before the EU referendum. Hate crime soared across the UK following the June 23 referendum, with the Home Office recording a 41 percent year-on-year increase in July 2016. "It is important, as I've outlined, that we stamp out all forms of hate crime," Lewis told a parliamentary committee. He branded the rise in antisemitic incidents as "absolutely disgraceful".