British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated on Friday that there has been a “disgusting” increase in antisemitic crimes since Hamas’s attack on Israel last weekend, as police increased patrols in sensitive areas.
The Metropolitan Police in London reported 105 antisemitic occurrences and 75 antisemitic offences between September 29 and October 12, compared to 14 incidents and 12 offences in the same period last year.
“There’s been a quite frankly disgusting rise in antisemitic incidents over the past few days, that’s not right,” Sunak said reporters at the news conference. “We will absolutely not tolerate people inciting hatred or violence or racist activity.”
Sunak increased cash to defend local Jewish institutions on Thursday.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced that police officers would be working longer shifts to keep the city safe and reassure vulnerable populations, including cops stationed inside synagogues as a gesture of support.
“There will be additional police presence this weekend,” he said to Sky News on Friday.
The Metropolitan Police said more than 1,000 officers would be on duty on Saturday to police a planned ‘March for Palestine‘ in central London, which it expects thousands of protesters to attend.
“Anyone carrying a flag supporting Hamas or any other proscribed terrorist organisation will be arrested,” stated Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor.
In addition to increased security patrols, the Met said its officers had visited more than 200 schools and more than 300 synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship.
It also reported an upsurge in Islamophobia, with 58 cases reported between September 29 and October 12, compared to 31 at the same period previous year.
Separately, counter-terrorism officers announced the arrest of a 22-year-old woman from Brighton on suspicion of aiding a prohibited group, Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyyah (Hamas), under Section 12 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
She was probed after making a speech during a demonstration on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports, antisemitic events in the United Kingdom have risen since the weekend, following the commencement of a new Israel-Palestinian war.
The Community Security Trust (CST), which advises Britain’s estimated 280,000 Jews on security issues, did not disclose specific figures but stated that other cases could be recorded in the coming days.
“We don’t have firm numbers yet as we are still logging and verifying everything that has come in, which also means that the number is likely to rise further, but the current rate is roughly triple what it was for the same period last year,” said a spokesperson for the company.
According to the CST, every increase in violence in Israel and Gaza frequently results in antisemitic outbursts in the United Kingdom.
Suella Braverman, the interior minister, wrote to police chiefs on Tuesday, warning that “Islamists and other racists” would exploit the current turmoil to incite hatred against British Jews.
She urged authorities to take a harsh stance not only against Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organisation in the United Kingdom, but also against some pro-Palestinian demonstrations.
“Behaviours that are legitimate in some circumstances, for example the waving of a Palestinian flag, may not be legitimate such as when intended to glorify acts of terrorism,” she said in her letter to the editor.
“It is also unacceptable to drive through Jewish neighbourhoods or single out Jewish members of the public to aggressively chant or wave pro-Palestinian symbols at,” she said in the letter, which was posted on the government’s website.
Hundreds of people gathered in central London on Monday to memorialise the assaults, with supporters of Israel holding a vigil near the prime minister’s residence at Downing Street and pro-Palestinian protestors demanding a “Intifada revolution” near the Israeli embassy.
At the demonstrations, police reported they made three arrests.
Antisemitic incidents in the United Kingdom reached a new high in 2021, fueled by an increase in violence in Israel and Gaza, and the CST documented 1,652 incidents last year, a 27% decrease from the previous year.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has expressed solidarity with Britain’s Jews and said he would endeavour to ensure their safety, while police have increased patrols to reassure Jewish communities.