Monday, September 04, 2006


Jewish trust: Anti-Semitic attacks in U.K. soared during Lebanon war
By Assaf Uni, Haaretz Correspondent
LONDON - The number of anti-Semitic incidents in Great Britain has risen sharply since the start of the Lebanon war, according to an organization dedicated to the safety of Britain's Jewish community. According to Mark Gardner, spokesman of the Community Security Trust, there were over 90 incidents of anti-Semitism in Britain during July, including attacks on Jewish-owned stores, hate mail sent to representatives of the Jewish community and verbal and physical attacks on Jews in public. Over the past few years, the monthly average has been 10 to 30 such attacks.The British report is merely the latest in a series of reports documenting an increase in anti-Semitic incidents throughout Europe in the past two months.
On Thursday, an all-party parliamentary inquiry into anti-Semitism in Britain will publish a report that is expected to declare anti-Semitism a serious problem and call on the government to fight it. Committee Chair Denis MacShane MP said in Saturday's London Times that the CST's figures "confirm the evidence given to us that anti-Semitic attacks are a very real problem."Gardner told The Times that the July incidents "were more dispersed than usual," noting that "it is usually a small number [of people] responsible for a large number of attacks, but these were very widespread across the country and included graffiti attacks on synagogues in Edinburgh and Glasgow." Hate mail sent to senior Jewish figures blamed them for the deaths of Lebanese children in Beirut, Gardner told The Times.The public debate in Britain over the Israel Defense Forces' operations in Lebanon during the war was heated. It included mass antiwar demonstrations, political denunciations of Israel's "disproportionate use of force" and attempts to prevent the transfer of American weapons to Israel via Scottish airports. Last week, Lord Janner was attacked in the House of Lords by fellow peer Lord Bramall during an argument over Israeli actions in Lebanon. "The number of anti-Semitic attacks reflects the mood music around Jews and Israel," Gardner told The Times. The past two months have brought a steep increase in reported incidents of anti-Semitism around the world. The Australian Jewish Council reported a fivefold increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the country. Synagogues in Italy and Norway have been defaced and vandalized in recent weeks, and a monitoring organization in the Netherlands reported a "steep rise" in the number of anti-Semitic incidents there.

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