North’s shame on Anti-Semitism as abuse figures worse than London

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There were more incidents of anti-Semitic abuse in Manchester last year than in London, despite the Jewish population being almost seven times smaller, new figures have revealed.

Nationwide, the Community Security Trust (CST) recorded a total of 586 anti-Semitic incidents, the fourth highest number since records began.

They included 92 instances of violent assaults, including one “extreme” case, and 394 instances of verbal abuse, anti-Semitic graffiti and hate mail.

In Leeds, there were 15 cases reported last year, including a man who telephoned a Jewish organisation and asked for Adolf Hitler and another who shouted abuse at a university student and gave a Nazi salute.

A number of swastikas were also drawn on a university desk during an examination in January.

Some 244 incidents were reported in Manchester, which has a Jewish population of just over 20,000, compared with a total of 201 in London, where the population is near 150,000. There were 141 other reports in 51 locations.

The CST, a Jewish security charity, said the majority were “random street action – what might be called anti-Semitic hooliganism – against individual Jews”.

At least 170 of the incidents were individuals randomly targeted because of Jewish appearance or dress; 84 involved synagogues and their congregations; 53 targeted Jewish charities and organisations; and four attacks took place on Jewish cemeteries.

In one incident in Manchester, a woman was run over by a car on a petrol station forecourt and then subjected to anti-Semitic abuse.

Mark Gardner, from the CST, said: “Anti-Semitism is not the most important feature in British Jewish life, but it remains a serious problem in some parts of society, and retains the potential to worsen significantly in reaction to external events.”

The figure of 586 was a nine per cent fall on the 645 incidents recorded in 2010 and a significant reduction on the record of 929 at the height of the conflict between Israel and Hamas in 2009.