Anti-Semitic attacks hit an all time high last year, more than doubling from the previous year’s total to hit 1,168 incidents in 2014. And as the Paris attacks of last month continue to reverberate, there are fears within the British Jewish community that intolerance of Jews on Britain’s streets is only set to increase.
Breitbart The Community Security Trust who compiled the statistic, which includes everything from physical violence to desecration of graves, has said that it has received an “unprecedented” number of calls from British Jews fearful of a similar attack in Britain. Little wonder, perhaps, that some of Britain’s Jews are choosing to leave the country for good.
The Telegraph has published an interview with one such family, the Goulds from Manchester. Simon, 52, has built a successful career in business in the UK, whilst his wife Honey, 49, works in marketing, alongside raising their two children, Arron, 18 and Angel, 16. Having lived in the same suburban home in Greater Manchester for their whole married lives, the Goulds will be leaving it behind this summer to start a new life in Arizona.
“It’s a terrible wrench”, says Honey. ““I’m proud to be British. My parents live in London. Simon has lived his whole life in two streets of north Manchester. Our house is the only home our son and daughter have ever known. But we have to do this, not least for the sake of our children.”
Whilst anti-Semitic attacks were up 118 percent in 2014 from the previous year, the rise has been especially sharp in London and Manchester where there are large Jewish populations; the latter seeing a 79 percent increase in incidents alone.
there is so much anti‑Semitism in Britain, and it’s coming from all sides. Our local Jewish schools look like prison camps. They’re surrounded by wire fences. There are guards on patrol, some with dogs. On Saturdays, you see police walking the street with members of the CST. I don’t want to sit at home panicking when my husband goes to the synagogue. I just want to live in peace.”
Simon, who sat on the northern board of the CST concurs with his wife. “I’ve been exposed to, and become familiar with, spiralling anti‑Semitism,” he says. “Eggs hurled from passing cars, swastikas on Jewish headstones, messages of hatred. Last summer, central Manchester – a place I love and have always lived in – became a flashpoint for virulent anti-Israel demonstrations. It was terrifying to see this on the streets of my home city.”
Although attacks peaked over the summer, fuelled by increased military action in Gaza, the figures show that incidents were already on the increase in the first half of the year, before the conflict flared up again. In February the words “Jewish slag” were daubed on a gravestone in Manchester, whilst in September a man was battered with a glass and a baseball bat, whilst being subjected to anti-Semitic insults.
Simon says that the rise in radical Islam is not the only driving force behind the attacks. He also points a finger at the left, who habitually conflate Israel and Zionism with the Jewish population.
They are unlikely to be the only British Jewish family with this story to tell. Indeed, Simon has set up a website, www.emigrate-to-america.co.uk, offering free advice to others thinking of making the move.
“I am the fourth generation of Jew in my family to live in Britain,” he says. “Britain offered a safe haven, a chance for them to raise a family, build a home. I am eternally grateful for the refuge Britain and its government has given to the Jews. But I can’t help feeling that the future is no longer here. The grandfather of one Jewish friend said ‘It’s time to leave when you are no longer free to sit on a park bench’. I think that time is fast approaching. I’m leaving before I’m told that I have to go.”