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Anti-Semitic incidents spike in UK, up 62 percent in London: report

People hold Israeli and Union flags outside the Royal Courts of Justice as Jewish groups rally in London on August 31, 2014, calling for "Zero Tolerance for Anti-Semitism"
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First half of 2016 sees the most anti-Semitic incidents reported since the peak year of 2009

The first half of 2016 saw an 11 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the United Kingdom, and a 62 percent rise in London, the Jewish Chronicle reported on Thursday.

With 557 anti-Semitic incidents being registered with the Community Security Trust (CST), the first half of the year saw the most such incidents reported since the first half of 2009 on the heels of Israel's Cast Lead operation in Gaza.

A quarter of the incidents occurred on social media sites, according to the Chronicle.

CST did not point to specific causes, but noted that racism has been a top issue in the public discourse. This spring there was "sustained public debate about antisemitism, particularly in relation to the Labour Party, and about racism and extremism more generally," the Chronicle quoted CST as saying.  "It was also a period when some Jewish public figures, including politicians and student activists, were the targets of sustained campaigns of antisemitic threats, abuse and harassment on social media.

"It is possible that a combination of these factors, rather than a single trigger event, contributed to an overall increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents."

The CST report defined nearly 200 incidents as "random", with 431 cases of abusive behavior comprising the bulk of the 557 incidents.

This included over 40 violent assaults, general threats, attacks on property, and distribution of anti-Semitic materials.

Anti-Semitism on campuses jumped significantly from 11 in the first half of 2015 to 27.

About 80 percent of the incidents were perpetrated by adults, said the report, and 20 percent by children. The vast majority were committed by men.

Less than half of the reports incidents did not include a motivation. According to the Jewish Chronicle, those that did mentioned far-right beliefs, opposition to Zionism, and Islamist rhetoric.  

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