It has become universally acknowledged that anti-Semitism in this country has recently “spiked” to alarming record-breaking levels. Everybody’s talking about it as though it is the truth. But it is not, certainly not according to the Metropolitan Police.
Maureen Lipmann has been noisily packing her bags, in between appearances in the media and radio discussions. Danny Cohen, 40, recently appointed Director of BBC Television at £320,000 a year, has told a Jerusalem conference that he “questions the long-term future for Jews in the UK”, adding “I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as in the last 12 months”. Which was when he was promoted to his powerful new job.
So what’s it all about?
The problem is that, having been handed headlines on a platter, journalists dismally fail to inquire further. The platter was delivered by the Jewish Community Safety Trust (CST), an organisation that would not exist were it not for perceived anti-Semitism and has every motive to exaggerate it.
The CST said it recorded 1,168 antisemitic incidents in 2014,” more than double the 535 antisemitic incidents recorded in 2013 and the highest annual total ever recorded by CST”. The figure for London was 583.
So far so shocking – but what were these “incidents”? Well, after bombarding us with a shedload of statistics, the report finally revealed that the number of “incidents” involving grievous bodily harm in 2014 was, er, ONE. There were no such incidents in 2013, but two in 2012.
There were, according to the CST, 81 cases of less serious physical attacks on people. So the remainder of incidents, over 1,000, were not even assaults. The breakdown shows 397 incidents of “verbal abuse”; 233 incidents of abuse on social media (only 18 of which even contained threats); and 213 incidents of non-violent offence caused to Jewish institutions. Eggs feature in quite a few incidents, but not bacon or ham.
Being a nosey sort, I decided to ask the Met to tell me their side of the story, as they deal with crime. They said I was the first to ask, but came back to me within 48 hours.
There were 358 “anti-Semitic offences” recorded by Scotland Yard between 1 January 2014 and 31st December 2014 – 177 fewer that the CST claims, although the two are said to work together. This, by the way, compares with 1,481 reports of homophobic crime and 611 of Islamophobic crime.
The Met’s breakdown of anti-Semitic crime in London as of Friday 6 February was: four case of assault with injury; seven cases of Common Assault; 36 cases of Criminal Damage to a Motor Vehicle and 38 of “harrassment”.
Compare that if you will to 180,000, which the total for crimes in these categories recorded by Met in 2014. So crime against Jews made up only one in 500 of the total, while Jews make up around one in 86 of the population of Metropolitan London. We should all be so lucky.
So why are prominent, educated and articulate Jews behaving as though their future here is suddenly at serious risk? I would generously suggest that they have failed to interrogate the CST’s “statistics”. And has the CST “sexed up” the stats? Well, here is a example of a CST-recorded anti-Semitic incident: “London, August: Graffiti was daubed on a pavement reading ‘Jews kill Palestinian babies’.” You may recall that in August the UK media was full of images and reports of Palestinian children and babies being killed by Israel in Gaza (the eventual total being around 550). The graffiti may have an unpleasant reminder, bit it was factually correct. And it was certainly not a crime, more a report of a crime.