Surge in an­ti­semitic in­ci­dents re­in­forced in wake of Brexit

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - JC, Bar­net

Not sur­pris­ingly, I was ap­palled by the front-page story ( Fe­bru­ary 3) de­tail­ing the surge in an­ti­semitic in­ci­dents over the past year. As you say, there is no sin­gle cause, but one word is un­der rep­re­sented in your anal­y­sis: Brexit.

Post Brexit, UK Courts have seen a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in race-re­lated of­fences. Home Of­fice fig­ures in­di­cate that, in the four weeks fol­low­ing Brexit, there was a 45 per cent in­crease in such re­ported in­ci­dents com­pared to the pre­vi­ous four weeks.

This also rep­re­sents a 41 per cent in­crease in such in­ci­dents com­pared to the same pe­riod in 2015.

Sub­se­quent fig­ures pro­vided by the Na­tional Po­lice Chiefs’ Coun­cil at the end of Septem­ber showed an even worse sce­nario, with a 58 per cent in­crease in re­ported in­ci­dents across the UK as a whole, while some ar­eas with a high “eth­nic” el­e­ment show a rise in ex­cess of 70 per cent, in­clud­ing ar­eas with a high Jewish vis­i­bil­ity such as Stam­ford Hill and North Manch­ester.

These in­ci­dents are not, as some re­ports sug­gest, con­fined to EU mi­grants but tar­get all na­tion­al­i­ties, eth­nic­i­ties, and re­li­gions, in­clud­ing us Jews. They have in­cluded a mur­der of a Pol­ish man, nu­mer­ous as­saults both verbal and phys­i­cal, ar­son at­tacks, ceme­ter­ies van­dalised, ex­cre­ment put through let­ter­boxes, swastikas daubed. And there has been no ev­i­dence that this has abated.

A re­port in the na­tional press in Novem­ber told of staff in NHS hos­pi­tals be­ing abused by pa­tients and told to “get back to their own coun­try.” Brexit has made racism re­spectable again.

Don­ald Trump hailed his elec­tion suc­cess as “Brexit Triple Plus”, and has filled his Cab­i­net with ex­treme rightwingers. Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Day in the USA was re­port­edly marked by the KKK hold­ing a rally against the Jewish com­mu­nity in a small town in Mon­tana, while, in the of­fi­cial me­mo­rial ser­vice, Trump made no men­tion of the Jews.

Mean­while, the leader of the French Na­tional Front, Marine Le Pen, an­nounced her elec­tion logo as “First Brexit, Now Trump, next Le Pen”. Her chances of win­ning the elec­tion ap­pear to be grow­ing by the day.

Lead­ers of far-right pop­ulist par­ties in Hol­land, Ger­many, and Aus­tria among oth­ers, await the out­come with eager an­tic­i­pa­tion.

An ex­am­ple, per­haps, of “the the­ory of un­in­tended con­se­quences”? For many of us, it was a con­se­quence that was only too easy to pre­dict. How to counter it? Per­haps the Brex­i­teers have a sim­ple so­lu­tion to this, too? An­thony Mel­nikoff

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