“A peculiar and remarkable obscenity” – that is the verdict of the Archbishop of Canterbury on the need for increased police patrols in Jewish neighbourhoods during the commemorations of the liberation of Auschwitz, after the Paris terrorist attacks.
Speaking at the launch of a parliamentary report on anti-Semitism at Lambeth Palace on Monday, Archbishop Welby said that the report was both shocking and timely, as it lifted the lid on the reality of rising anti-Semitism”.
The MPs and peers from the All Party Parliamentary Group into Antisemitism could have had no idea that their report would be so “appropriate in the midst of such a difficult time”, Archbishop Welby said. “It goes to the heart of the belief that all humanity has been made in the image of God. The blasphemy of anti-Semitism is it seeks to . . . destroy that divine gift.”
The report found that there was a 221-per-cent increase in hate crimes directed at Jews during the war between Israel and Gaza last summer, when compared with the same period in 2013.
The Community Security Trust, which monitors anti-Semitic abuse and attacks, recorded 314 incidents in July 2014, which was their highest ever monthly total and more than the preceding six months put together. A quarter of these incidents took place on social media, and one third used Holocaust-related language or imagery.
A poll commissioned for the report found that Britons believe anti-Semitism to be largely unchanged from ten years ago. On a scale of one to ten, the average strength of anti-Semitism was 4.66, scarcely above 4.52, which was the result of a similar survey in 2005.
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