Surge in antisemitic incidents reinforced in wake of Brexit
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