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London has seen a “massive increase” in antisemitic incidents since the Israel-Hamas conflict, from the playing of German military music to intimidation outside synagogues, the Metropolitan Police said.
Between September 30 and October 13 there were 105 antisemitic incidents and 75 antisemitic offences in the capital, compared with 14 incidents and 12 offences in the same period last year, according to figures from Scotland Yard.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor told a press briefing on Friday: “That is a massive increase in antisemitic crime and incidents.
“In balance, we have seen an increase in Islamophobic incidents, but nothing like the scale of the increase in antisemitism.
It really is everything from that real, basic antisemitic language to some thoroughly offensive behaviour that we saw on Monday evening, where Jewish individuals were confronted by members of a protest group, effectively playing up the issues in Israel and laughing about the number of deaths of Jewish citizens in Israel
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor
“The context is really challenging for us, we are seeing behaviours that are provocative, that are inciteful, we’ll address those whilst recognising the emotion and the activities and the incidents that are taking place overseas.”
He added: “This will range from everything, to intimidation outside of synagogues, we’ve had incidents of German military music being played loudly and in intimidatory ways, to some more serious offences, a range of offending.
“It really is everything from that real, basic antisemitic language to some thoroughly offensive behaviour that we saw on Monday evening, where Jewish individuals were confronted by members of a protest group, effectively playing up the issues in Israel and laughing about the number of deaths of Jewish citizens in Israel.”
The Met has 1,000 officers dedicated to “reassurance and security patrols” in the wake of “significant concern” among Londoners which the force anticipates will continue for a “fairly long period of time”.
It also plans to have visited every synagogue in the city by the end of Friday, and has met 2,000 parents as well as pupils and schools’ leaders, amid worries about the safety of young people.
Staff have checked on more than 200 schools and more than 300 synagogues, mosques and other places of worship.
More than 1,000 officers will be in place to police a pro-Palestinian protest over the weekend, which thousands of people are expected to attend.
Protesters have been warned flying a flag in support of Hamas is an offence which will lead to an arrest.
Mr Taylor added: “We will not tolerate celebration of terrorism and death.”
The Jewish safety charity Community Security Trust (CST) said it had recorded at least 190 antisemitic incidents between the Hamas attacks on Saturday and the end of Thursday, compared to 32 over the same six days in 2022.
CST said 109 incidents happened in Greater London, 22 in Greater Manchester, eight in West Yorkshire, seven in the West Midlands, four in Hertfordshire, with the remaining 40 incidents were spread across 12 other locations around the UK.
In a post on its website, the organisation said: “CST will not stand for this anti-Jewish hatred and nor should anybody else.
“We urge everyone who experiences or witnesses antisemitism to report it to police and to CST so that those who are trying to intimidate and threaten our community can be investigated, arrested and prosecuted.”