The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the UK has shot up nearly 500% in the wake of Israel's military operation in Gaza, the Community Security Trust told BuzzFeed.
There were almost as many anti-Semitic incidents in July alone than in the previous five months collectively, according to the Community Security Trust (CST), which records anti-Semitic incidents. The statistics are the highest recorded since January 2009.
Individuals can call the CST to report incidents of anti-Semitism, from extreme violence and assault to damage, desecration of Jewish property, and abusive behaviour. The organisation has not been able to fully verify each of the 240 incidents and will not do so until January 2015, when it releases its annual report.
CST spokesperson Jonny Newton told BuzzFeed said the rise tracks this summer's hostilities in Gaza.
"The rise that we've seen in July and in August is a direct result of what's going on in the Middle East, and we've seen it before. For example in January 2009, we recorded 289 incidents, which is the highest since we started recording.
"The general trend is that we see them spike when there's a trigger, and then you see them subside," he said.
The figures came as a wave of anti-Semitism has spread across the UK and Europe. Last week, Respect MP George Galloway "declared Bradford an Israel-free zone", before a powerful letter emerged in The Independent on Thursday that mentioned various incidents of anti-Semitism, including a student being asked to leave his university dining hall for bringing in kosher meat.
On Saturday, a Sainsbury's store in central London was accused of anti-Semitism after a shop assistant moved kosher produce from the chilled aisle, fearing protesters would enter the store and throw produce on the floor. A Twitter user claimed a shop assistant said the produce was moved because "we support [the] Free Gaza [movement]", but the store said the decision was made to protect the stock.
There have also been a number of major demonstrations to take place recently, with the latest so-called "national day of action on Gaza" seeing 15,000 people on the streets of London, as pictured above. There were also demonstrations in Birmingham and Manchester, amongst other major cities.
Pro-Palestinian protest organizers have sought to make clear that they oppose Israeli policy, not Jews, and the majority of protests have passed by without major incident, the CST said, though breakaway protesters have been reported by individuals. Following a protest outside the BBC's headquarters in Manchester, "some of the cars went into Jewish areas and started throwing eggs at visibly Jewish people", the CST said.
The organisation has recorded more than 300 anti-Semitic incidents this year, and takes reports through the website, telephone, email or through social media.
One person submitting a report said the hatred came from "ordinary people, not what or who we expect it from… It's the underlying anti-Semitism, and now that they've put it out there, how are we supposed to put it back?"
Siraj Datoo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Siraj Datoo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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