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Britain addresses rising anti-semitism in society

1,160 anti-Semitic incidents recorded in 2014, more than double of those in 2013.

Antonia Filmer  London | 28th Feb 2015

ritish civil society and Parliamentarians are addressing the issue of rising anti-Semitism in the UK. The Community Security Trust (CST) — the UK organisation dedicated to analysing and reporting anti-Semitic data — recorded 1,160 anti-Semitic incidents in 2014, more than double than in 2013 and the highest number ever recorded in 30 years. As a result of the Israel-Gaza war in July/August 2014, there was an alarming increase in anti-Semitic incidents. The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) led by John Mann, MP, published their inquiry into anti-Semitism, and recommendations, in early February. Commentators write on this subject daily and in London's West End, the Grand Central Synagogue, in association with the Henry Jackson Society (HJS-a modern liberal political think tank) held a panel discussion to explore if the UK is at "a civilisational crisis point".

There was consensus among the panelists that European society and Brussels had avoided early confrontation against the rise of extremism and acquiesced to anti-Semitism, in that influential people have seen anti-Semitism as political in nature, not religious or racial; governments have wasted a lot of time calling anti-Semitism intercommunal tension or prejudice against the government of Israel and not Jews. The panel unanimously agreed that to solve the problem it had to be named: they called it "Islamist anti-Semitism", drawing a distinction between Islam and Islamism.

Following World War II, UK has earned a reputation as a world leader in combating anti-Semitism, but in July 2014, about 100,000 demonstrators gathered in Whitehall to show their support for Gaza. Douglas Murray, commentator/associate director of the HJS, was the lonely voice enraged that this was an anti-Semitic rally. During this time, the CST confirms the main perpetrators of abuse being described as 50% "South Asian" and 34% "White-North European", with acts in general centered in London and Manchester. Between 2012/13 and 2013/14, religious hate crime increased by 45% (Home Office Statistical Bulletin).

The APPG identified: “Anti-Semitism continues to emanate from Islamist extremists, far-left and far-right groups.” During the summer months last year, “Hitler” and “Holocaust” were among the top 35 words on Twitter.

The problem is that Britain has not been upfront enough about its core values, therefore sometimes immigrants may have little understanding of the society they are living in, as articulated by Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP "...what I mean is that we've encouraged people from other cultures to remain within those cultures and not integrate fully within our communities."

For approximately 5.3% of UK population, Muslims command a disproportionately larger voice. The Gatestone Institute — an American international think tank dedicated to publicising what the media fails to report — have been cautioning about the "Islamisation of Britain" for ten years, including claims that EU funds subsidise Palestinian NGOs with radical links. In January, Andrew Gilligan exposed in the Times that subsidy from the Big Lottery Fund has also been compromised. In 2013, the charity Peace Giving Foundation received a lottery grant of £118,000 for the project "empowering ethnic minority women". The Peace Giving Foundation shared directors with the Islamic Education and Research Academy, which supplies extremist speakers to mosques and university societies. More than £39,000 of the lottery grant has already been paid. The Big Lottery Fund told Gilligan that payment of the remaining £78,000 had been stopped pending an investigation into the Peace Giving Foundation's "connections".

Last week, the Charity Commission, the UK's charity regulator, opened formal investigations into the Global Aid Trust Limited after an ITV undercover investigation. The chief executive, Rizwan Hussein resigned after Dawah Man, one of the charities' representative speakers, made anti-Semitic statements to his audience and another of his employees was overly familiar with and promoting jihadist procedures and then called the deceased hate preacher Anwar al-Awlaki "a brilliant guy".

The APPG identified: "Anti-Semitism continues to emanate from Islamist extremists, far-left and far-right groups." During the summer months last year, "Hitler" and "Holocaust" were among the top 35 words on Twitter. Consequently, the APPG recommendations include reviewing online hate crime prevention orders; the APPG also advocates a governmental fund be established to cover the costs of security for British synagogues and an increased grant for evidence-based teacher training on the Holocaust.

Simone Rodan, the Paris director of the American Jewish Community, has quoted a French policy survey that revealed the vast majority of French Muslims hold anti-Semitic views, irrespective of age, socio-economic factors, education or location; the only distinction was the level of religiosity. In January YouGov conducted a UK survey which posed some negative statements about Jews to mostly Christian and Roman Catholic respondents, the results were overwhelmingly "not true".

The Henry Jackson panelists concluded that the UK has to find the political will to confront the rise of Islamic extremism as it relates to anti-Semitism; they propound Westminster and all UK authorities should not be afraid of offending Muslims.

If everyone had the right not to be offended where would this end? As a free society UK may have to accept that no-one has the right not to be offended.

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