Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism
Antisemitism is not a new phenomenon but one that constantly mutates and finds new ways to infect society. Over the past ten years, we have developed and implemented national frameworks and local strategies to address anti-Jewish hatred and in the main these have been effective and in some cases exemplary. However, during the Isra el-Gaza war of July and August 2014 we witnessed a surge in incidents which highlighted areas in which more can be done and further steps that must be taken.
The aims of our inquiry were: to review the state of antisemitism in the UK specifically in light of anti-Jewish hatred emanating from the Middle East conflict, to analyse the effectiveness of existing measures and make recommendations for further action rooted in national and European good practice. In the introductory chapter, we seek to establish some basic facts and history about antisemitism and discuss the various definitions of the term. We introduce one of several sub-reports that were commissioned to assist our deliberations and discuss our approach to the research. In addition, we emphasise the centrality of free speech to British life and the accompanying responsibilities. We also highlight that, as has been proven since the last report into antisemitism, the benefits in tackling anti-Jewish prejudice are almost never solely felt by the Jewish community but rather all victims of hate crime.
Any serious analysis must begin with establishing facts and so chapter two begins with an overview of incident figures and statistics. We were pleased that the police had improved their data capture and analysis in recent years and that their numbers broadly tally with those of the Community Security Trust (CST), a key Jewish communal security organisation which records antisemitic incidents. We look at patterns in crime and incident figures nationally, regionally, and locally and establish that whilst there is a mixed picture, undoubtedly spikes in tension in the Middle East lead to an increase in antisemitic events. We also consider perceptions of antisemitism and uncover both reassuring and worrying data. We found that most British Jews feel a strong sense of belonging to the United Kingdom but that certain issues and events, particularly in relation to the Middle East conflict, can serve to undermine this.
Since 2006, significant steps to combat antisemitism have been taken by government, parliament and civil society and we detail quite extensively the constituent parts of that body of work, covering ten different themes and make a specific recommendation about interfaith work. Separately, we analyse responses to cyber hate which was a major concern during the summer and finally review the role of prosecuting authorities and the law, making recommendations about regular reporting structures and effective communication.