The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism has slammed the falling number of prosecutions for hate crime by the Crown Prosecution Service in the UK last year.
CPS prosecuted a total of 14,480 hate crimes in 2016/17 of which only 21 against Jews were forthcoming.
There were 20 prosecutions (2015/16) and 12 (2014/15).
Records show Jewish organisations are still awaiting a year when the CPS prosecutes over two dozen hate crimes against Jews, a fact CAS labeled ‘paltry’.
The charity notes that though the CPS states it is prosecuting hate crime “ferociously”, statistics provided are unacceptable against a backdrop of rising anti-Semitic crime.
“So serious are the failures by the CPS to take action that we have had to privately prosecute anti-Semites ourselves and challenge the CPS through judicial reviews, the first of which we won in March,” commented CAS director of investigations Stephen Silverman.
“In the past two years hate crime against Jews has surged by 45% but charging has plummeted by 36%.
“Last year only 1.9% of hate crime against Jews was prosecuted signalling to police forces that their effort in investigating hate crimes against Jews might be wasted and sending the strong message to antisemites that they need not fear the law.
“It is no wonder that only 39% of British Jews feel confident that antisemitic hate crimes against them would be prosecuted.”
Mr Silberman added, “The CPS must start to seriously address hate crime against Jews.
“If they are so proud of their record why do they refuse to break down their hate crime prosecutions in the same way as police forces to show how many antisemitism cases they received and how many they prosecuted?”
Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush expressed concern over the falling number of prosecutions when evidence points to a rise in antisemitic and other hate crimes.
“The CPS says that there are less referrals from the police and this needs to be investigated,” he explained.
“If it is a question of police attitudes or resourcing this needs to be urgently addressed.
“History shows us that where low-level abusive and discriminatory behaviours goes unchecked, much worse can follow. The government, CPS, police and community groups must look at this to ensure that there is no place for hate in our country.”
A statement from CAS noted that antisemitic crime broke all records in 2014 but rather than being met with the full force of the law, antisemites have been able to target the Jewish community with relative impunity.
Antisemitic crime has surged by 45% in that period.
CAS commented, ‘The failure to prosecute cases of antisemitism appears to be making police reluctant to put effort into investigating antisemitism in certain cases because of fears that despite their work, the CPS may drop the case.
‘Despite the rapid rise in antisemitic hate crime, charging of antisemitic crime dropped by 36% between 2014 and 2016.
‘The message sent to antisemites and British Jews is chilling.
‘According to our 2017 polling only 39% of British Jews feel confident that anti-Semitic hate crimes against them would be prosecuted and 52% believe that the CPS is doing too little to fight anti-Semitism.
‘Almost one in three British Jews considered leaving Britain due to anti-Semitism in the past two years.’
The Campaign Against antiSemitism enjoys support from a cross section of Jewish denominations in Britain. It exists to research, educate about and combat anti-Semitism.