The statistics cited by the press can be traced to the (CST) - an organisation which has been documenting antisemitic incidents reported to it by the public since 1984. At first glance they are indeed shocking. In July CST recorded 302 antisemitic incidents representing a 400% increase over the 59 incidents recorded in the same month last year. A further 150 cases were reported the following month.
In September David Cameron and Michael Gove both reacted to the news publicly. “Today, across Europe, there has been a revival of antisemitism which the enormity of the Holocaust should have rendered forever unthinkable,” , “…The virus is spreading across other European nations. We must all remember where this leads, now more than ever. And we must not think that Britain, gentle, tolerant, civilised Britain, is immune.”
Gove’s strong rhetoric and suggestion that the recent spike is connected to a wider trend across Europe echoes much of the media’s coverage of the issue. Yet while many articles assert that antisemitism has reached record levels in the UK, on closer inspection the matter appears more complex. Long term trends suggest antisemitism in Britain has actually been in decline for several years and, though it is cause for concern, the latest surge in incidents is not unprecedented.