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July 31, 2015

Significant Increase in Anti-Semitic Incidents in UK for 2015

CST, ADL’s partner in UK, reported today a significant increase in anti-Semitic incidents for first half of 2015, compared to the same period in 2014, but cautioned against alarm: “Detailed analysis of the timing, content and sources of every one of these recorded antisemitic incidents suggests that, while they may partly reflect a real rise in incident levels, the primary explanation for the rise is most likely to be a greater willingness by people to report antisemitism, either to CST or Police.”

CST report

The report does contain, however, some disturbing findings:

–          Forty-four violent anti-Semitic assaults were recorded during the period, including two instances of “grievous bodily harm.”  The number of violent incidents doubled from 2014.

–          Synagogues were targeted 25 times in first half of 2015.

–          Twenty incidents occurred at Jewish schools; 10 at public schools; and 14 incidents involved Jewish children or school staff on their way to or from school.  Three of the incidents involving children were classified under “Assaults.”

Information on perpetrators and motivations was also reported, though with caveats about the reliability of information from victims about the perpetrators’ ethnicity.  The report categorizes the perpetrators’ “ethnic appearance” as:

–          54% “white – north European”

–          23% “south Asian”

–          13% “black”

–          6% “Arab or north African”

–          3% “white – south European”

–          1% “east or south-east Asian”

Political discourse was reported in just 36% of incidents, with far-right language making up the vast majority.   References to Israel, Zionism or the Middle East were reported to have been made in less than 7% of incidents.

These numbers should put to rest the commonly held misconception that anti-Semitic incidents are primarily driven by reactions to the Middle East conflict.  Yes, fighting between Israelis and Palestinians can trigger an upsurge, but right-wing extremist anti-Semitism remains a serious concern in the UK and elsewhere.

For more data on anti-Semitic attitudes in the UK, see ADL’s 2014 Global 100 survey and 2015 follow up.

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December 17, 2013

Qatari Book Fair Highlighting UK Partnership Marred By Anti-Semitism


British and Qatari officials tour book fair

The Doha International Book Fair, held in Qatar on December 4-14 and billed as part of “Qatar-UK 2013” – a year of “events to celebrate and develop the partnership between Qatar and the United Kingdom” – featured many anti-Semitic books from several different publishers and available from multiple book sellers. 

A statement from the Qatari Minister of Culture on the fair’s website noted that the UK was selected as the “guest of honor.” The fair’s website also included a photo of the British Minister of Culture with his Qatari counterpart visiting the event.

The anti-Semitic Arabic-language books were available at the fair, according to the website, which included a floor index of where visitors could physically purchase the book.

For example, several publishers from Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon offered different versions of the noto­ri­ous anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and sold them at various prices. Another anti-Semitic book titled, The Secrets of the Talmud, Exposing the Jewish Plot to Control the World, was sold for 75.00 Qatari Rials (about 20 US$).

Books promoting Hitler, Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories were on display in various sections (e.g., The Facts About the Zionist-Nazi Secrete Relations).

According to Qatari media, the British Embassy in Doha and the British Cultural Council helped organize British participation in the fair. The UK helped organize “workshops for families, children and book enthusiasts,” according to the fair website.

The sale of anti-Semitic books is counter to the fair’s mission, as stated on its website, of “raising the cultural and intellectual level of the society.” It also undermines the larger aim of “Qatar-UK 2013,” which seeks to “increase engagement between the people of both countries in the spirit of innovation, openness and learning.”

Just last month, the Shar­jah Inter­na­tional Book Fair (SIBF) in the United Arab Emi­rates, which report­edly attracted 1 mil­lion vis­i­tors from across the region, fea­tured sev­eral infa­mous anti-Semitic books as well.

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