Britain vows to act against increased anti-Semitism

By JONNY PAUL
JTA

LONDON — Responding to a parliamentary inquiry into the rising tide of anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom, the British government made 35 recommendations to combat what one official called “the absolute scourge of our society.”

The recommendations include: improving the recording and reporting of anti-Semitic incidents, reviewing and strengthening the prosecution process, accelerating efforts to confront extremist groups that spread hate, promoting community cohesion through education about different faiths, and trying to prevent racial or religious intolerance on university campuses.

A report in February published by the Community Security Trust, which represents the Jewish community on matters of anti-Semitism, terrorism, policing and security, showed anti-Semitic incidents in the United Kingdom at record levels since documentation began in 1984.

Phil Woolas, minister for local government, strongly condemned the increase in the number of incidents and promised to step up action to eradicate anti-Semitism.

“We will not tolerate racially motivated crime of any kind,” he said. “We share the concerns of Jewish communities and fully support the police and prosecuting authorities in taking a tough line to stamp out anti-Semitism.”

Woolas said the government recognizes that anti-Semitism “has not been taken as seriously as other hate crimes in our society, and that is not acceptable. Whether anti-Semitism is coming from the far left, far right or Islamic extremists, it must be understood for what it is and condemned and dealt with promptly and effectively through the law,” he said.

In its response to the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism, which was released last September, the British government recommended that law enforcement authorities investigate why there were so few prosecutions for racial hatred, and review cases to see what lessons could be learned.

MORE.