Britain’s Jews have been advised to take extra security measures on the street, in homes, at synagogues, in offices and at recreation centres following attacks on them in London, Leeds, Manchester and other parts of the country.
"We’ve received reports of 60 attacks since December 29, including two quite serious assault cases and an arson attack on a synagogue in London," said Mark Gardner, a spokesperson for Community Security Trust, a charity that offers security, training and advice for the protection of Britain’s estimated 300 000 Jews.
"About 180 000 [Jews] live in London. There definitely has been a significant rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents following the attacks on Gaza, which is what we call ‘a trigger event’," Gardner told Ecumenical News International.
A CST report states that a synagogue in Brondesbury, north west London, was attacked by arsonists. In Golders Green, north London, a Jewish man was pulled from his car and assaulted. In the same area, a group of young men entered a shop shouting "Jew!…Jew!" In Manchester, the words "Hamas HQ" were scrawled in graffiti on a Jewish building.
The home affairs spokesperson for the opposition Liberal Democrats party, Chris Huhne, told reporters: "I am deeply concerned by the evidence in the Community Security Trust’s report that the Israeli invasion of Gaza is being used as a pretext for threats against the Jewish community in Britain."
On 11 January, thousands of people gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square under the slogan, "End Hamas terror! Peace For the people of Israel and Gaza". While the main group listened to speeches by Sir Jonathan Sacks, Britain’s Chief Rabbi and several lawmakers, a smaller group of Jews and Muslims chanted: "Judaism, yes! Zionism, no! The State of Israel must go!"
A report in The Times newspaper on 12 January quoted one protestor, 30-year old Abraham Greenburg saying, "What the Zionists are doing is against God and against the Palestinian people."
Over the past week news agencies have reported concern among community leaders about attacks against Jews in France, Sweden and Britain.
France has Western Europe’s largest Jewish and Muslim communities and also has a history of anti-Semitic violence
Jews, including Baroness Julia Neuberger and Professor David Cesarani, an authority on the holocaust, have joined in calling on Israel to cease its military operations in Gaza. Their condemnation of the escalating violence was published in a letter to the weekly Observer newspaper.
(c) Ecumenical News International
Photo : World News