LONDON – The number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain hit a record high last year, with reactions to the conflict in Israel and Gaza last summer the biggest factor accounting for the jump, a charity said Thursday.
The Community Security Trust said it recorded 1,168 incidents across the country in 2014 — more than double the 535 cases documented in 2013, and the highest yearly total since the group began monitoring anti-Semitism in Britain in 1984.
Mark Gardner, a spokesman for the charity, said last month that it received an unprecedented number of calls from Jewish people fearing a Paris-style terror attack in Britain.
Concerns about anti-Semitism in Europe have risen after a kosher supermarket was targeted in France's deadliest attacks in decades. Four Jewish people were among the 17 people killed last month by the three gunmen, who also died.
Garry Shewan, Britain's national police lead for Jewish communities, said the charity's report was in line with increases in anti-Semitic crimes reported to police in recent weeks.
The charity said it received 81 reports of violent anti-Semitic assaults last year, including a victim being verbally abused and hit with a glass and a baseball bat in London.
Most of the reported incidents were not as extreme.
"The most common single type of incident in 2014 involved verbal abuse directed at random Jewish people in public," the group said in a report. In many cases, "the victims were ordinary Jewish people, male or female, attacked or abused while going about their daily business in public places," it said.
Other forms of abuse included hate mail, threats and abuse on social media, graffiti, and the damaging of Jewish property.
Most of the incidents took place in London and Manchester, the two largest Jewish communities in the country.