London iStock

The British Community Security Trust (CST) has recorded the third-highest number of anti-Semitic incidents for the first six months of a year, despite the coronavirus pandemic leading to a slight decrease in overall incidents.

According to the figures, outlined in the CST’s new half-yearly report and quoted by the UK Jewish Chronicle, there were 789 recorded incidents of anti-Semitism between January and June 2020 — a drop of 13 per cent compared to the first six months of 2019.

The report adds that instances of antisemitism online were at their highest ever recorded in the CST’s January to June half-yearly reports, with 344 incidents.

The CST said that the overall drop in antisemitic incidents was explained by the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown, adding that the lowest monthly totals in the figures were recorded in April and March, with 98 and 102 incidents.

The report said it was “likely” that the lockdown “contributed to the reduction in reports. The fact that over 100 incidents were recorded in five of the six months,” it wrote, “sustains the pattern of historically high anti-Semitic incident figures.”

The CST noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had seen the emergence of antisemitic conspiracy theories online that included “theories accusing Jews of inventing the coronavirus ‘hoax’, or of creating and spreading COVID-19 itself, for various malevolent or financial purposes.”

Of the 789 that were reported to the monitoring organization, the CST said that only 47 were “violent anti-Semitic assaults” — a decrease of 45 per cent compared to the January to June period in 2019.

The vast majority, 673, of antisemitic incidents were classed as “verbal abuse, anti-Semitic graffiti, anti-Semitic abuse via social media and one-off cases of hate mail.” The report also stated that it had recorded 36 “direct anti-Semitic threats” and five cases of “mass-mailed anti-Semitic leaflets or emails.”

Incidents in Greater London rose two per cent, while those in Greater Manchester dropped 44 per cent.

The report found that as “anti-Semitic incidents in Manchester tend to be more street-based than in London,” such a drop was to be expected because of the lockdown.

There has been an increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain in recent years. Last year, the number increased for the fourth consecutive year, reaching a record tally of 1,805 cases.

Overall, the increase over 2018 was of 7%, but the category of assault increased by 27% to 157 incidents.

A report released by Britain’s Jewish community last August found that a record number of nearly 900 anti-Semitic incidents had been recorded in the United Kingdom for the first six months of 2019 alone.

A government report released this past October found that the number of religion-based hate crimes against Jews in England and Wales nearly doubled in 2018.