Jewish Londoners ‘make plans to flee capital’ amid huge antisemitism wave

The Campaign Against Antisemitism said some Jewish residents had already left because of fears for their safety. (ES)
The Campaign Against Antisemitism said some Jewish residents had already left because of fears for their safety. (ES)

Growing numbers of Jewish families are considering fleeing London for abroad because of rising antisemitism in the capital, campaigners warned on Tuesday as they demanded tougher action to combat intimidation and hate.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism said some Jewish residents had already left because of fears for their safety.

But it added that the number of those considering leaving London was increasing daily in response to hostility being displayed towards them.

The campaign group has exposed a series of antisemitic attacks in London amid reports of increasing nervousness among Jewish people about their safety.

Gideon Falter, chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, said an earlier opinion survey had already shown that about half of Jewish people were considering moving abroad and that the trend was growing because of continuing hostility from sections of the community.

He said examples ranged from threats made to MPs and outside Parliament to antisemitism in universities and attacks on the streets, as well as

the impact of Gaza protest marches involving incidents of antisemitism and support for Hamas terrorism.

“We are aware of people now who have left the country. It’s the biggest untold story, the effect it’s having on Jewish families of mass intimidation. The cumulative effect is pretty devastating,” he said.

The Israeli military launched an offensive to destroy Hamas after its gunmen killed about 1,200 people and took hostages back to Gaza on October 7. The territory’s Hamas-run health ministry says more than 30,500 people have been killed in Gaza since then.

Mr Falter said: “Since October 7, we have seen antisemitism skyrocket in all areas of British life. On our streets, on campuses, online, in workplaces and elsewhere, we are seeing regular expressions of anti-Jewish vitriol, and even violence. Jewish children are being told to hide their school blazers, Jewish students are being terrorised on campus, synagogues are guarded, kosher shops are being attacked, business owners are being threatened.

“The effect is that, as our polling shows, a majority of Jewish people in this country are afraid to show their Jewishness in public. This is not the tolerant Britain that we cherish — it is a Britain succumbing to a racist mob.”

The Evening Standard’s front page on Tuesday (Evening Standard)
The Evening Standard’s front page on Tuesday (Evening Standard)

A report last month by the Community Security Trust, which collects data on antisemitic hate crimes, found

that there were 4,103 incidents of “anti-Jewish hate” in the UK in 2023, a 147 per cent rise on the previous year.

It said that two-thirds of the total had been after October 7, with 416 in the week after the Hamas attack in an indication that the surge was “a celebration” of the terror group’s actions rather than a reaction to Israel’s ground offensive, which began three weeks later.

The trust added that 2,410 of the antisemitic hate crimes recorded last year were in London, nearly 60 per cent of the total and well over double the 923 such incidents in the capital in 2022.

Met police figures show that 1,177 antisemitic hate crimes were recorded between October and December. This represents about two-thirds of such offences recorded between January and December 2023. Mr Falter said the marches over Gaza were fuelling the problem and called for police to use powers under the Public Order Act to ban them because of their cumulative negative impact on the Jewish population. He added: “At the epicentre of this disaster are the weekly anti-Israel marches, which feature antisemitic signage, genocidal rhetoric and intimidation. They have made London a no-go zone for Jews.

“Enough is enough. Our country is at a tipping point. The situation for Jews in Britain is desperate.”

Today’s warning follows complaints about the intimidatory atmosphere created by the display of antisemitic images at Gaza protests and the chanting of the slogan “From the river to the sea”, which is interpreted by many

Jewish people and others as advocating the obliteration of Israel. The phrase was also beamed onto the Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben, during a mass protest on the day that MPs voted on a Gaza ceasefire last month.

During a visit to a London synagogue last week, the Prince of Wales said he and his wife Kate were “extremely concerned about the rise in antisemitism” and that such prejudice should have “no place in society”. And PM Rishi Sunak, speaking outside No 10 on Friday, warned that extremists were fanning hate against Jewish people and Muslims.

Despite the pleas for an end to bigotry, further incidents of alleged antisemitic hate crimes have included a Jewish man being abused on the Tube by a man who told him, “Your religion kills Muslims”.

A Jewish nightclub owner in east London was also forced to step down as its director after a campaign of harassment involving calls for a boycott of his venue and a package being sent to his home with a note describing him as a “Zionist child killer” and children’s clothes soaked in fake blood. He has since left London for a new life in Israel.