Antisemitic attacks in London could get more violent, campaigners warn

Will Taylor
News Reporter
Anti-semitic graffiti in the form of numbers, 9 11, and a Star of David, on a shop window in Belsize Park, north London (PA)

Antisemitic attacks in north London have blighted Hanukkah celebrations and could turn more violent, a non-governmental organisation has warned.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism group said politicians need to realise the scale of the problem or risk violent antisemitic attacks like a recent stabbing in New York being replicated in the UK.

The group’s fears follow a series of attacks aimed against Jewish people over Hanukkah, which was observed from 22-30 December, and have carried on into 2020 – with several reported in Stamford Hill, north London.

Stephen Silverman, the director of investigations and enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “We are seeing violent attacks being perpetrated with increasing frequency on the observant Jewish community in Stamford Hill.

“Police, politicians and above all prosecutors must now urgently take on board the reality that the epidemic of anti-Jewish hate crime on the streets of London can only be stemmed through rapid and zero-tolerance enforcement of the law.

“Failure to act urgently may result in the atrocities that have been committed on the other side of the Atlantic being replicated here in the UK.”

That appears to be a reference to the five people who were stabbed at a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi’s home north of New York City on December 28.

A police officer exits the house where five people were stabbed at a Hasidic rabbi's home in Monsey, New York (Reuters)

The group has noted a series of alleged antisemitic attacks that took place in the last two weeks in north London, which have marred Hanukkah celebrations.

It has listed nine reported incidents on its website, all reported by Stamford Hill Shomrim, a Jewish volunteer neighbourhood watch patrol that works to fight against antisemitism and prevent crime in the wider community.

The alleged incidents in the area include a Jewish man being pelted with a glass bottle by someone who shouted “dirty Jew” on 21 December, and a pedestrian who spat at the car of Jewish motorists while shouting “f***ing Jew” the following day.

On 26 December, a man allegedly walked into a kosher butcher’s shop shouting antisemitic abuse while pointing at Jewish people with a gun gesture.

High Road, in the Stamford Hill area, where a teenager is alleged to have been punched in the stomach (Google Maps)

On 1 January, the Campaign Against Antisemitism and Shomrim say a couple told a Jewish woman that “you Jewish people, you think you own the world, you stink”.

A Jewish man was punched in the face in an unprovoked attack on 4 January while two men threatened worshippers at a synagogue a day later, according to Shomrim.

On 5 January, a 13-year-old boy is reported as having been punched in the stomach while travelling on a bus and the attacker shouted “you stupid Jews think you own the world”.

The following day, a man shouted “f***ing Jewish c***” at a Jewish mother who was waiting with her baby for a taxi to the hospital, Shomrim has reported.

All incidents were reported to police and arrests have been made in relation to some of the cases.

Antisemitic graffiti also appeared in the Belsize Park area of north London between Christmas and the new year.

Symbols, including a Star of David and the numbers 9 and 11, were daubed in red and purple spray paint over several shopfronts and a synagogue.

Anti-semitic graffiti in the form of a 9/11 sprayed onto the outside of the South Hampstead Synagogue in north London. (PA)

That piece of graffiti is believed to be an antisemitic conspiracy that Jews were responsible for the 9/11 terror attack.

The graffiti was found less than two hours after the New York stabbings.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism says its analysis of Home Office figures show an average of more than three hate crimes are directed at Jews every day in England and Wales.

The group believes Jewish people are four times more likely to be targeted by hate crime than other faith groups.