(JTA) – British Jewry’s main watchdog on anti-Semitism reported a sharp rise this year in the number of incidents that it recorded.
The Community Security Trust (CST) reported on Thursday that it had recorded 473 cases in the first six months of 2015 – a figure that constitutes a 53 per cent increase over the 309 incidents that CST recorded in the corresponding period last year.
The increase is likely the result of growing inclination on victims’ part to report such incidents, and does not necessarily reflect an increase in their prevalence, CST wrote in a statement about the report published Thursday.
“These figures may of course include a real rise in incident levels, but our analysis strongly suggests that the primary explanation is a greater willingness by people to report anti-Semitism, either to CST or police (with whom CST has an incident exchange protocol),” the statement read.
This increase in reporting, CST said, is believed to be due to heightened concern within the British Jewish community following terrorist attacks against in January in February against the Jewish communities of Paris – where an Islamist killed four Jews at a kosher shop – and Copenhagen, where another Islamist gunned down a Jewish guard at a synagogue.
January saw 106 anti-Semitic incidents reported to CST, the sixth-highest monthly total since CST began recording anti-Semitic incidents, in the 1980s.
CST recorded 44 violent anti-Semitic assaults in the first half of 2015, double the 22 incidents of this type recorded during the comparable period in 2014.
Vandalism and threats each featured in 36 of the incidents recorded in the first six months of 2015.
One incident involved a hand-written hate letter sent in February to a synagogue in Scotland.
“Hitler attempted to rid Europe of the filthy Jews and everything they stand for, he failed,” the letter read. “Next time there must be no mistakes made, they are as much use on the planet and to humanity as dog shit.”