UNITED KINGDOM 2006
recorded the highest annual total of antisemitic incidents ever− 594 compared
to 455 in 2005, a 31 percent rise. The number of incidents during the first
half of the year was lower than the same period in 2005, but the overspill of
the war in Lebanon resulted in a near doubling of incidents in the latter part
of the year compared to the parallel period in 2005. The All Party
Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism published its report on the growth of
antisemitism in Britain after a year long investigation by senior members of
community of the United Kingdom numbers about 350,000, out of a total
population of 58 million. Two-thirds of the community is concentrated in
Greater London. Other major Jewish centers are Manchester (30,000), Leeds
(10,000) and Glasgow (6,500). Although the Jewish population has experienced a
decline in recent years, mainly due to a low birth rate, intermarriage and
emigration, the question on religion in the 2001 census indicated that there
were more Jews than was previously thought.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD) is the principal
representative of British Jewry. Security and defense activity is organized
through the Community Security Trust (CST). Welfare and education are given
high communal priority through organizations such as the United Jewish Israel
Appeal and Jewish Care. A network of Jewish day schools operates in London and other major cities. There are also a number of tertiary centers for Jewish
studies, including the London School of Jewish Studies (formerly Jews College)
and Leo Baeck College, as well as the Jewish Studies departments at University
College London, Southampton University and the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and
Jewish Studies at Yarnton, all leading institutions in Europe in this field.
The main community papers are the 160 year-old Jewish Chronicle, the Jewish
Telegraph published simultaneously in northern cities, and the Jewish
News. The Jewish Tribune and Hamodia cater for the growing,
strictly Orthodox community. Two Jewish websites are based
in the UK: www.totallyjewish.com
and www.somethingjewish.co.uk, carrying national and
The Jewish Leadership Council formed in 2003 brings together heads of
major national Jewish organizations and key communal leaders with the aim of
enhancing the long-term effectiveness of communal representation, and to ensure
greater consultation by communal organizations and leaders.
The London Jewish Forum was launched at the end of 2006 to represent London's Jews on statutory bodies, including the Greater London Authority.
PARTIES AND EXTRA-PARLIAMENTARY GROUPS
right British National Party (BNP) fielded 363 candidates in the May
local elections; 33 new councilors were elected and one was re-elected, giving
the party a total of 49 councilors in England and Wales. During 2006, 35 BNP
candidates stood in local by-elections, and the party is now a permanent
feature of the mainstream political landscape in some parts of the country,
with consistent voter support.
The BNP's move away from fringe extremism towards mainstream political
activity continued with a national conference in Blackpool in November,
attended by more than 200 delegates. Motions passed included opposition to same
sex civil partnerships, immediate withdrawal of British troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and a call for a ban on the public wearing of the burqa (an
all-enveloping robe worn by many Muslim women, especially in Central and South Asia).
The party held its annual Red, White and Blue open air gathering in
Sawley, Lancashire, over an August weekend, attracting up to 3,000
Throughout the year, the BNP was beset by internal squabbles which
frequently attracted media attention. Much of this was fuelled by internal and
external allegations of financial mismanagement, a constant theme throughout
its existence. In November, for example, Albion Life, a life assurance company
established by Steven Blake, BNP website editor, collapsed after its political
links were publicized. It was believed that trading profits from its business
were to be used to fund BNP-related activity.
In December, BNP Chairman Nick Griffin and Publicity Director Mark
Collett were acquitted of charges of incitement to racial hatred at their Leeds
Crown Court retrial. The charges related to speeches they made in Keighley,
which were secretly filmed for the BBC "Secret Agent" television documentary in
Despite a public move towards respectability, and an attempt to woo
Jewish support in a letter to the Jewish Chronicle in November, the BNP
continues in private to promote antisemitism and violence. For example, in
August, BNP supporter Mark Bulman was jailed for five years for daubing
antisemitic graffiti in Swindon; books recommended to members on the party
website include some with antisemitic themes, such as John Tyndall's The
Eleventh Hour, and others by the American anti-Jewish propagandist Michael
Hoffman II. Fifteen BNP members, some senior, were charged with or
convicted of criminal activity during 2006, 13 of them for racist offences. In
October, former BNP local election candidate Robert Cottage, and retired
dentist David Jackson, were arrested and later charged with terrorist-related
offenses after a large amount of bomb-making equipment was found in their
homes. Their trial began in early 2007.
The National Front (NF) is virtually a spent force electorally,
and now fails to produce either large numbers of candidates or sustained
intensive campaigning. Their only notable performance in the May local
elections, in which they stood only seven candidates, was in Hillingdon, West London, where the local branch is composed of former BNP activists. A planned
anti-immigrant march through Luton was banned in July by the home secretary, on
the grounds that it might lead to violence. In December, NF leader Thomas
Holmes was convicted of racially aggravated harassment, and given a six month
Sharon Ebanks was expelled from the party, for making
antisemitic web postings and due to her involvement in a financial dispute, but
reportedly because her father is black. In December she established a new organization,
the New Nationalist Party.
Support for anti-immigrant policies was felt in Blackburn, where two
candidates from the openly racist England First Party (EFP) won two
seats on the local council in the May local elections. The EFP is a tiny party,
and these were the only candidates it stood in the country, but won its seats
due to a combination of local campaigning and attracting support from an
increasing number of disillusioned voters from mainstream parties. EFP policies
are more extreme than those of the BNP, and call for the banning of mixed race
marriages. EFP leader, Mark Cotterill, is a veteran neo-Nazi and founder of Friends
of the BNP in the USA.
The Freedom Party (FP) promotes an anti-European, white
nationalist ideology, and is composed mainly of former BNP members. The
leadership includes chairman Adrian Davis, and party founder Sharon Edwards. No
candidates stood in the local elections.
The tiny Leeds-based
British People's Party (BPP), founded in September 2005 by veteran
neo-Nazi activists John Wood, Kevin Watmough, Peter Williamson, and Eddie
Morrison, was the subject of a police investigation over alleged electoral
fraud in the run up to the May local elections, but no criminal charges were brought.
At the beginning of the year, the BPP was responsible for distributing an
antisemitic leaflet in Manchester, against the planned establishment of a new
Jewish primary school (see below). During the course of the year, however, both
Williamson and Wood left the party.
Tiny neo-Nazi groups, such as the National Revolutionary Faction, White
Nationalist Party, International Third Position, Blood and Honour,
and the November 9th Society, as well as ultra right conservative
groups, such as the Conservative Democratic Alliance, Bloomsbury
Forum and Monday Club, continue to exist, with activity confined
mainly to the web.
Islamist and Other Muslim Groups
In October 2004,
al-Muhajiroun (AM − The Emigrants) was disbanded by its leader,
Omar Bakri Mohammed, who returned to Lebanon. He was subsequently barred from
re-entering the UK. In November 2005, Mohammed announced the formation of a new
group, Ahl ul-Sunnah Waal Jamma (ASWJ - The Messenger and His
Companions). In July 2006, two other AM successor groups, the Saved Sect
(SS) and Al-Ghurabaa (AG), were proscribed under the amended Terrorism
Act 2000 for glorifying terrorism (see below). Nevertheless, the groups
continue activity under the joint UK leadership of Anjem Chowdary and convert
Abu Izzadeen (formerly Trevor Brooks).
The Danish cartoons issue (see ASW 2005) led,
in February, to public protests by many Muslim groups, most of which were peaceful.
Islamist groups, however, staged sometimes angry demonstrations, among which
those organized by the AM successor groups were notable for their violent and
antisemitic rhetoric and placards. On 3 February, AG organized a march from the
Central London Mosque, Regents Park, to the Danish Embassy with banners which
proclaimed "behead those who insult Islam" and "Be Prepared for the Real
Holocaust", among others. In July, Chowdary was fined £500 and £300 costs,
after being found guilty at Bow Street Magistrates Court, for failing to notify
police of the February demonstration outside the Danish Embassy. Three other
demonstrators, Umran Javed, Nizanur Rahman and Abdul Saleem were also
subsequently found guilty of inciting racial hatred at separate trials and were
due to be sentenced in early 2007.
The Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC) accused 'the Zionists' of
being behind the Danish newspapers' "deliberate provocation, designed to
outrage and incite Muslims." Asghar Bukhari, the founding leader of MPAC,
admitted in December that he had donated £60 to the 'Fighting Fund' of British
Holocaust denier David Irving in 2000. Along with the money, Bukhari wrote to Irving "You may feel like you are on your own, but rest assured many people are with you in
your fight for the Truth." He also offered to send Irving a copy of former US Senator Paul Findley's book, They Dare to Speak Out, because Findley "has
suffered like you in trying to expose certain falsehoods perpetrated by the Jews."
Although Prime Minister Tony Blair had committed the government to
banning Hizb ut Tahrir (HUT- the Islamic Liberation Party) in an August
2005 speech, a decision not to do so was taken at the end of December on the
grounds that there was no proven link to terrorism, nor did the party glorify
it. It was agreed, however, that the decision would be subject to a regular
review. HUT remains outlawed by the National Union of Students (NUS) as are AM
and MPAC, for promoting antisemitism. A motion to overturn the ban on HUT was
defeated at the annual NUS conference in Blackpool, in April.
The Iran-oriented Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC),
established in 1997 and led by Massoud Shadjareh, campaigns for Muslim rights, demonizes
Zionism and promotes antisemitism. Through its Justice for Palestine Committee
it organizes the annual al-Quds Day march (initiated by the late Ayatollah
Khomeini for the liberation of Jerusalem), which took place at the end of
October in Central London. Among the speakers were anti-Zionist Respect (see
below) leader George Galloway MP, Hamas-linked Azzam Tamimi, and journalist and
Islam convert Yvonne Ridley.
The anti-Jewish Islamic Party of Britain, founded by convert Daoud
Mussa Pidcock, engaged in no public activity during the year, but co-leader,
German-born convert Sahib Mustaquim Bleher, briefed British participants to the
Holocaust denial conference held in Tehran in December.
Respect - the Unity Coalition, a coalition of far left and
militant Islamist activists, led by George Galloway MP, stood 150 candidates in
the May council elections, winning 12 seats in the East London borough of Tower
Hamlets. They also won three seats in the East London borough of Newham, and
one seat on Birmingham Council. Respect now has a total of 17 councilors (see
also ASW 2005).
A motion to
boycott Israeli universities and academics was passed at the May annual
conference in Blackpool of the National Association of Teachers in Further and
Higher Education (NATFHE). The boycott applied to Israeli academic institutions
and individuals who did not "publicly disassociate themselves from Israel's apartheid policies." The resolution was scrapped after the June merger between
NATFHE and the Association of University Teachers (AUT). The Union of Jewish
Students and Jewish academics had argued that the decision was discriminatory
against Jewish students.
Chris Davies was forced to resign as leader of the Liberal Democrats
(LDP) in the European Parliament in May after publication of a series of
abusive e-mails to a Jewish woman, who had complained to him about comments he
made during a visit to the West Bank in which he drew a parallel between the
Holocaust and Israeli treatment of the Palestinians.
At an Edinburgh University meeting in December, Baroness Jenny Tonge
repeated comments she had made at a LDP conference fringe meeting in September,
that "the pro-Israel lobby has got its grips on the West End world, its financial
grips. I think they've probably got a grip on our party." Baroness Tonge was
sacked from her position as foreign affairs spokesman within the LDP in January
2004 for announcing that she would consider becoming a suicide bomber if she
were a Palestinian. Her September remarks were condemned publicly in an open
letter to The Times newspaper signed by the former Archbishop of
Canterbury, as well as by an all party group of members of the House of Lords
and her party leader. In December, she was forced to resign as a trustee of
Vandalism, Harassment and Threats
There is no
statutory requirement to collect data on antisemitic incidents, and as a
consequence, the figures published by the CST are accepted as authoritative.
Criticism of this omission was made by the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into
Antisemitism (see below), and by intergovernmental agencies monitoring hate
crime in Europe.
The CST recorded a total of 594 antisemitic incidents during 2006, a 31 percent rise over 2005 (455 incidents). This was 12 percent higher than the
previous record figure recorded in 2004 (532), and continued the long-term
trend of rising incident levels since 1997. In addition, the totals for July, August and September were, respectively, the third, fourth and fifth
highest monthly totals on record.
Four incidents of life-threatening violence were recorded. They included
the stabbing of a Jewish man in Stamford Hill, north London, during an
unprovoked street attack; a gang assault on two strictly Orthodox men in
Manchester, during which one was struck several times over the head with a
metal bar; an attack at a nightclub on two Jewish students by two Asian men who
shouted antisemitic abuse before hitting one of the students over the head with a bottle; and an
assault on a father and his two sons walking to synagogue.
A further 108 violent incidents were recorded, the highest number in a
single year. The majority were random, opportunist non-life threatening
assaults on Orthodox Jews, and included 16 attacks on congregants on their way
to or from synagogue. A further ten targeted Jewish school children. The strictly Orthodox
communities in north Manchester, and north and northwest London are particularly
vulnerable to such acts. For example, on 5 January three young Jewish school
boys on a bus were verbally and physically attacked by three other youths. They
knocked the skull caps off their heads and spat at them. A similar incident
took place a month later in Manchester. On 8 April, an egg was thrown from a
passing car at a Jew who was on his way home from the synagogue. He was injured
and his glasses broken. The police have yet to identify any of the perpetrators
in the above incidents.
Seventy incidents involving damage and desecration to communal property
were recorded, a rise of 46 percent over the previous year (48 incidents). A
Jewish cemetery in Manchester was desecrated on two separate occasions,
resulting in damage to 47 gravestones. In London, swastikas, SS signs, and the
words "Juden Raus" were daubed on a South London synagogue. In March, 59
gravestones were damaged in the Jewish section of a municipal cemetery in Derby. Daniel Coleman and Richard Fallows were arrested shortly after the attack and have
since been convicted of criminal damage. Large amounts of Nazi materials
including DVD's of Hitler's biography, Downfall and Romper Stomper films
were found in Coleman's home. A war memorial in Worthing, Sussex, was defaced with swastikas and SS symbols in November, resulting in one arrest.
Materials that could have been used to manufacture petrol bombs were
found, in suspicious circumstances, in November, near the South London Croydon
synagogue, following a police investigation into militant Islamist activity centered
at a nearby mosque.
There were 365 incidents of abusive behavior, including both verbal and
written offenses, a rise of 34 percent over the previous year (273 incidents).
Again this was the highest total recorded in this category. Examples included
the slogan "Jewish scumbag, go back to the camps" shouted by a group of Asian
men at synagogue-goers in London; daubing of "the Jews are evil people" in
large letters on a London Underground station; the receipt by a Jewish charity
in Manchester of a letter that stated "Jews are still crying about the killing
of innocent people from 65 years ago, but are doing the same today in Beirut.
Jews think they have a right to take over wherever they go . they spread like a
disease, and breed contempt wherever they go. Without the backing of Americans
they would be nothing, and the reason for that is that America is run by the Jews.. There will never be world peace, as long as there is a living
Twenty-seven antisemitic threats were recorded, a rise of 8 percent over
the previous year (25 incidents). They included two bomb threats, one to a Newcastle synagogue (see below).
For the second
year in a row, the mass distribution of antisemitic literature fell by 26
percent to 20 incidents (27 incidents in 2005). In five of these, literature
was sent to Jewish schools and homes in north Manchester by the BPP, which
stated: "No Jew school in Heaton Park. Supporting the campaign to defend our
English park." In another, organizations connected to Holocaust Memorial Day received
an antisemitic e-mail with cartoons showing Nazis murdering Jews for food. The captions
were in both English and Arabic. In a third incident, several people received a
letter containing a razor blade, and bearing the name of the far right Combat
18 group. The letter stated, "We fully intend to complete the final solution.
When the National Identity Registry is operational locating and tracking your
kind will be easy. We will know which schools your children attend, your places
of work, how to find your family and friends. slit the throats of your kinder
[children] now. Save us the effort."
TOWARD THE HOLOCAUST
Commemoration and Education
The theme of
Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) held on 27 January, was "One Person Can Make a Difference."
The national event was held in Cardiff and hosted by the first minister for Wales. Attendees included the prime minister, political leaders and leaders of the Jewish
and other faith communities. A statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury was
read in all Anglican churches. HMD is increasingly commemorated by
municipalities and schools throughout the country, and is coordinated by the
government funded Holocaust Memorial Day Trust established in May 2005.
The Muslim Council of Britain maintained its boycott of HMD for the sixth
year running. On this occasion it announced that HMD should be replaced by a
genocide day "which would also include the plight of Muslims around the world."
The Holocaust is
openly denied within Islamist bodies, as well as within local BNP, NF and other far right groups, at their meetings and through their book clubs.
In February, British Holocaust denier David Irving was jailed for three
years by a Vienna court, after pleading guilty to charges of denying the
Holocaust. He had been arrested in November 2005, during a one-day visit to
address a student meeting, on a 1989 arrest warrant. In December, his jail
sentence was reduced on appeal, and he was repatriated. He will, however,
remain on probation for the duration of his sentence.
In June, the
Metropolitan Police Service Crimes against Humanity Unit announced that it was
investigating two suspected Nazi war criminals living in Scotland, but refused to divulge their names. Earlier in the year it had announced a wider inquiry
into former members of the Waffen SS recruited in the Ukraine, who have been residing in Britain since the end of the war.
Public Opinion Polls
According to a
Populus survey of British Muslims for The Times newspaper and the ITN
News network published in June, 13 percent thought that the 7 July 2005 suicide
bombers should be regarded at 'martyrs'; 7 percent agreed that suicide attacks
on civilians can be justified in some circumstances, rising to 16 percent for a
military target; 16 percent believed that although the 7 July attacks were
wrong, the cause was right; 20 percent would be proud of a family member who
joined al-Qa`ida, while 16 percent would be indifferent.
In October, a poll of British Muslims' attitudes to foreign policy, for
the 1990 Trust, an anti-racist charity which campaigns for black rights, noted
that foreign policy plays a central role in shaping Muslims' engagement in the
British political arena. One finding was that 96 percent of respondents
rejected terrorism against civilians; another that 82 percent thought that
Muslims were becoming more radicalized, whilst 86 percent questioned Muslim
TO RACISM AND ANTISEMITISM
The Racial and
Religious Hatred Act 2006 was passed in February, but was not yet in force in
mid-2007. It is intended to extend existing incitement to racial hatred laws
that protect certain religious groups and to provide protection for people of
all faiths, and those of no faith, by creating new offenses relating to the incitement
of religious hatred. The legislation will operate under part of the Public
Order Act 1986. The legislation, which was much debated and rejected by
parliament over a number of years, was passed only after a high threshold for
prosecution was set.
also passed the Equality Act 2006, which was due to take force in April 2007,
which makes it unlawful to discriminate on grounds of religion or belief in
education, the provision of goods, facilities and services, the use and
disposal of premises, and the exercise of public functions. It is expected that
the measures will afford protection: from direct discrimination, where one
person is treated less favorably than another; from indirect discrimination,
where adherence to a particular religion or belief provides a disadvantage
which cannot be reasonably justified; and from victimization, where a complaint
of discrimination leads to less favorable treatment. The BOD had submitted
written evidence to the Equalities Review which preceded the act, earlier in
The Terrorism Act 2006, which came into force in March, amended the
Terrorism Act 2000. Section 1 criminalizes the encouragement and glorification
of terrorism; the distribution and possession of terrorist material; conduct in
preparation for committing acts of terrorism, or assisting another to commit
terrorism; training for terrorism; attending terrorism training; and making or
possessing devices or materials that can be used for the purposes of terrorism.
Shortly after the act was passed, it was used to proscribe two Islamist groups
(SS and AG - see above), which glorify terrorism and promote antisemitism.
teenagers were punished for antisemitic offenses. Two youths, unnamed because
of their age, were sentenced to a total of 7 years in a young offenders
institution in March following a three-day campaign of violent robberies and
antisemitic verbal threats against pupils from the Jews Free School in Kenton, north London, in June 2004. Further, two 14-year-old girls were found guilty
of robbery and attempted robbery in January 2007 after they stole a bracelet
and attacked a Jewish girl on a London bus during August. Although not charged
with a racially aggravated crime, it was clear from the evidence that their
motivation was antisemitic, as they asked the victim if she was Jewish before
they attacked her. The victim had been left unconscious after the assault. One
attacker was sentenced to 10 months custody in a young offenders institution;
the other received an 18 month supervision order.
In addition, Caroline Smith, her 18-year-old son Michael, and an unnamed
16 year old, were convicted, in July, of assaulting a Jewish woman and her
husband in Manchester. Mrs Smith was given a 4 month prison sentence suspended
for two years: her son, a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years; and
the 16-year-old, a 12-month rehabilitation order. William Galbraith, a 79-year-old,
was found guilty of racially aggravated assault, and given a 12-month
conditional discharge in March, after he had abused and spat at a group of strictly Orthodox
Jews sitting on a Norfolk beach in August 2004. Galbraith was also ordered to
Bamidele Omisore-Arayemi, a 20-year-old from Bournemouth, was found
guilty of racially aggravated harassment in July after he verbally abused
Jewish staff and customers in a restaurant in Hackney, north London, while
Gerald Goddard, a 63-year-old taxi driver from Wakefield, was jailed for 6
weeks in February, after pleading guilty to several counts of racially aggravated
criminal damage after he had daubed antisemitic graffiti on walls at Manchester
airport in four separate incidents during September and October 2005. On one
occasion, he had drawn a swastika, and written "Finish the job Hitler started."
In September, Paul Jonathan Mahon was convicted of malicious communication, and
fined £150 for phoning a synagogue in Newcastle and leaving a message which
stated "Following your killing of the children of the Lebanon, be on warning that your children are now targets in Newcastle."
Helen Green, a Jewish secretary who endured a campaign of antisemitic
bullying by four female co-workers at Deutsche Bank Services UK in the City,
was awarded 800,000 pounds in damages in the High Court in August.
The trial of seven British Muslims accused of plotting terrorist attacks
in Britain between January 2003 and April 2004 continued for most of 2006 at
the Central Criminal Court in London. The jury were shown evidence in July that
the defendants, who had been arrested in Operation Crevice, had compiled a 12-page
list of synagogues, allegedly as intended targets.
In December, Abu Hamza Al-Mazri, the prominent Islamist cleric, and
leader of Supporters of Shariah, lost his appeal at the High Court in London against his conviction for soliciting to murder, and stirring up racial hatred. In
February he had been found guilty on 11 of the 15 charges that he faced: 6 of
these related to soliciting to murder; 3 to stirring up racial hatred; one to
owning recordings which incited racial hatred; and one to possessing a
'terrorist encyclopedia'. Evidence for the racial hatred charges included
telling worshipers at the North London Mosque Finsbury Park in 2000 that, "we
do not hate Jews because they hurt each other, we hate them for their corruption
of the earth." In one video, Hamza stated that "The Jews are cursed. Hitler was
sent to torture and humiliate the Jews, and every last Jew is going to be
buried in Palestine. You will fight them until every tree and stone says 'O you
Muslims, you servant of Allah, there is Jew behind me, come and kill him'." In
another he stated: "Our houses are full of Jews. In the television, in the
radio, in the books of your children."
In June, the Standards Board for England cleared London Mayor Ken
Livingstone of antisemitic remarks he had made in March, when he publicly
accused the Jewish Reuben brothers of playing a divisive role in the collapse
of an east London property consortium, and suggested that they "go back to Iran, and try their hand with the ayatollahs." In October, a High Court judge quashed
Livingstone's 4 week suspension for bringing his office into disrepute over
offensive comments to Oliver Finegold, a Jewish reporter on the Evening
Standard newspaper. The judge described the mayor's comments as "unnecessarily
offensive, and indefensible" but that he had a right to free speech, and that
the Adjudication Panel for England, which had suspended the mayor from office,
had misdirected itself.
As a consequence of his behavior, the Mayor was not invited to the
September open air event in Trafalgar Square to celebrate 350 years of Jewish
life in Britain, although his office provided funding for the event. In
December he apologized for offending the Jewish community at the launch of the
London Jewish Forum, which he hosted at City Hall, and expressed his support
for a viable two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians.
anniversary of the readmission of Jews to Britain was marked by a series of
public events which commenced with a thanksgiving service in June in the 300-year-old
Bevis Marks Synagogue in the City, attended by the prime minister and Jewish
community and religious leaders from all faiths. Other events included the
publication of press articles, art exhibitions, concerts, and an all day
musical and drama event in Trafalgar Square. The celebration culminated in a
reception at St James's Palace hosted by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, for 700 community leaders and activists.
In June, Parliament debated the contribution made by Jews to British
public life. The debate was initiated by Andrew Dismore MP, chairman of the
parliamentary joint committee on human rights, who represents the Hendon
constituency in northwest London, where many Jews live.
In September, the Archbishop of Canterbury, on behalf of the Church of
England, signed an accord with the two chief rabbis of Israel, which put to rest residual differences over matters of faith between Judaism and the
Dennis MacShane, MP, former minister for European affairs and chairman of
the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism, along with
representatives of the CST, attended an experts conference on antisemitism in
November, in the German parliament buildings in Berlin, organized by the German
Parliamentary Delegation to the OSCE.
In September, the Report of the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into
Antisemitism was published. Among its main conclusions: Jewish people and
institutions are being targeted regardless of the expressed motive; a minority
of Islamist extremists incite hatred toward Jews; Jewish students feel
disproportionately threatened in British universities as a result of
antisemitic activities. The report praised the valuable role performed by the
CST, and recommended that the European Union's Working Definition of
Antisemitism be adopted and promoted; that the Home Office provide more support
in addressing the Jewish community's security needs; that all police forces
should have the capacity to record racist and antisemitic incidents; and that
the Crown Prosecution Service investigate the reasons for the low number of
prosecutions for incitement. The government's official response was due in early
In November, the minister for higher education published guidelines for
universities and colleges of further education, on dealing with extremism. The
document stressed the need to tackle Islamist extremism, recognizing its links
to terrorism, and demonization of other faiths.