The Community Safety Trust has issued a report outlining the number and nature of anti-Semitic incidents notified to them in Britain in the first half of the year. As reported by the Times of Israel, the number of such incidents has fallen significantly since 2012 and represents the lowest level for a decade.
There is a well known logical fallacy post hoc ergo propter hoc which makes me cautious about drawing conclusions from rises and falls in statistical data. The CST’s analysis attributes no conclusive reason for the fall. Interestingly a ‘spike’ in anti-Semitic incidents in 2012 is linked to the terrorist shooting at Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse. Anti-Semitic incidents are also reported as peaking in 2009 coinciding with conflict in Gaza.
To draw a picture of the nature of anti-Semitism in Britain it is important to understand what (and how) the CST classify anti-Semitic incidents. This is explained in their recent report:
CST classifies as an antisemitic incident any malicious act aimed at Jewish people, organisations or property, where there is evidence that the victim or victims were targeted because they are (or are believed to be) Jewish. Incidents can take several forms, including physical attacks on people or property, verbal or written abuse, or antisemitic leaflets or posters. CST does not include the general activities of antisemitic organisations in its statistics; nor does it include activities such as offensive placards or massed antisemitic chanting on political demonstrations.CST does not record static websites or offensive videos on YouTube as antisemitic incidents, nor does CST proactively search for antisemitic comments in order to record them as incidents. However, CST will record as incidents antisemitic comments reported to CST that have been posted on blogs or internet forums, or transmitted via social media, if they show evidence of antisemitic content, motivation or targeting that is comparable to the criteria by which CST classifies offline incidents.
219 such incidents were recorded in the first half of 2013. This is a 30% fall against the 311 reported in the same period last year.
Although good news when viewed through a statistical lens, this does highlight that there were over 200 such hate crimes, the majority perpetrated in London and Greater Manchester. Communities Minister Eric Pickles speaking in February about 2012’s statistics said:
Every one of these incidents is an affront to decency, and we must continue to remain vigilant to these sort of attacks
We can only hope for a continuing decline throughout the second half of 2013.