By David Saffer
Campaign Against Antisemitism is mobilising volunteers following a spike in antisemitism in Jewish communities across the UK.
The escalation of incidents follows recent hostilities in Israel with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Incidents have occurred on streets, social media and in media coverage.
CAA have also heard disturbing accounts of Jewish schoolchildren being pressured by peers to “pick a side” in the conflict. CAA have published a short resource “What to do about antisemitism at school” for children and parents, which helps identify antisemitism using the International Definition of Antisemitism and provides pointers on how to act when incidents arise.
“Reports of antisemitism directed at Jewish schoolchildren and teachers are harrowing,” noted a a CAA spokesperson. “Teachers, colleagues, headteachers and governors have an obligation to step in to prevent abuse and punish perpetrators when it arises. There must be no place for racism in schools. We have produced a resource for pupils and parents who encounter antisemitism at school, and we urge victims to contact us for assistance.”
According to CAA a growing number of British Jews reported incidents including praise for Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust. On social media, abhorrent hashtags trending includes #HitlerWasRight, #HitlerTheGreat and #Holocaust_was_right.
CAA note hashtags were accompanied by explanations. One tweet noted, “Our modern history is always biased. The great Hitler was right about these Zionists”.
Twitter users have also begun to spread a false Hitler quote, claiming he said, “I would have killed all the Jews of the world but I kept some to show the world why I killed them.”
Gideon Falter, CAA Chief Executive, voiced concern about the current trend.
“We fear we may see a recurrence of the record-breaking spike in antisemitism that we witnessed in 2014, when we first established CAA due to the failure of the criminal justice system to enforce the law against anti-Jewish racists,” he explained. “We are already seeing social media and our streets rife with antisemitic motifs, including comparisons of Israel and the Nazis, in breach of the International Definition of Antisemitism. Antisemitism will persist unless we take all legal action available against its purveyors. In anticipation of a spike in antisemitism, we are mobilising volunteers to help monitor and report antisemitic incidents and to provide assistance to victims.”
Falter added, “We continue to call on the Government to proscribe in its entirety Hamas, an antisemitic genocidal terrorist organisation that aspires to the destruction of Jews worldwide.”
Proscription, Falter believes, is supported by over 90% of British Jews and will send a message of zero-tolerance of anti-Jewish hatred.”
Like CAA, Community Security Trust has reported a huge increase in antisemitic incidents since the start of the confrontations. CST noted altercations outside synagogues, verbal abuse directed at Jewish people from cars driving through Jewish areas of London and Manchester and social media posts. Hate messages have also been sent to Jewish student societies at UK universities.
CAA referenced protesters in Manchester targeting a housing complex for Charedi Jews, attempts by protesters to enter Chelsea football stadium before burning an Israeli flag outside the ground, and last week outside Downing Street, demonstrators displaying banners comparing Israel to Nazi Germany.
In Stamford Hill, a man dressed in camouflage gave the Nazi salute to Jewish passers-by at Manor House Station, two Jewish men were approached by a man threatening them with a large knife while Jewish residents of Clock House discovered “Hitler” daubed in a communal area in their block.
All three incidents were reported by Jewish volunteer neighbourhood watch patrol Stamford Hill Shomrim.
There have also been reports of Jewish people being verbally abused in Golders Green with shouts of “Free Palestine” at them as they walked in the street.
Footage of protests and incident have been circulating online.
Pupils, parents or teachers concerned about antisemitism at school email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To volunteer contact www.antisemitism.org/volunteer or e-mail email@example.com