What do CST Anti-Semitism figures really tell us?

A report from the Community Security Trust (CST) this week shows that 2015 saw a 20 percent drop in anti-Semitic incidents compared with the previous year. Of the 924 recorded cases, 354 involved an attack or abuse against Jewish people going about their business in public. Eighty five incidents were aimed at Jewish schools, schoolchildren or teachers. And there were 50 incidents against synagogues.

coollogo_com-23172872However, the experience of AntiSemitismWatch leads us to significantly question the worth of the statistics provided by the CST. In July 2015, we published the results of our survey into the reality of Anti-Semitism experienced by the ultra-orthodox Jewish communities in the UK.

The theory tested by the survey was whether the day-to-day experience of the most visible sections of the UK Jewry was different to the general community typically represented in UK Anti-Semitism figures collected by groups like the CST.

Of all the respondents, 77% had witnessed or experienced anti-Semitism in the previous 12 months. Most worryingly and importantly when considering the worth of the CST figures, the overwhelming majority (59%) had never reported these incidents to the police or a third-party organisation, a potentially shocking indictment on the reliability of UK Anti-Semitism figures typically reported.

AntiSemitismWatch is not a lone voice suggesting such concern. Michael Dugher (MP for Barnsley East and the former Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport) commentating on the figures released by the CST in The New Statesman says, “Worryingly, this could be just the tip of the iceberg. 2013 survey of Jewish experiences found that 72 per cent of British Jews who had experienced anti-Semitic harassment over the previous five years had not reported it.”

In a similar vein, Chaim Hochhauser, a senior Supervisor at Stamford Hill Shomrim, speaking exclusively to AntiSemitismWatch said, “From the perspective of a group that operates within and part of the most visible elements of British Jewry, our experience is that Anti-Semitism is significantly under-reported. Shomrim, working closely with the Metropolitan Police, are supporting the community to have the confidence to report all incidents.”

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