Middle East Crisis Fuels Rise in Attacks on Jews

By Burrell, Ian | The Independent (London, England), February 2, 2001 | Go to article overview
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Middle East Crisis Fuels Rise in Attacks on Jews

Burrell, Ian, The Independent (London, England)

ANTI-SEMITIC attacks in Britain doubled last year as an escalation in the Middle East conflict fuelled discrimination against Jewish communities.

More than 400 attacks, including two stabbings and more than 50 assaults, were reported in what Jewish leaders described as a "clearly worrying" pattern. Three out of every 10 anti-Semitic attacks in Britain were reported in the Cheetham Hill district of Manchester, which has a small community of Orthodox Jews.

Mike Whine, of the London-based Community Security Trust, said many of the attacks were the result of a spill-over of tensions in the Middle East. He said that "certain Middle East interests" were attempting to "transform the territorial conflict" between Israel and Palestine into a global "religious conflict".

The Jewish Chronicle reports today that the 405 recorded anti- Jewish attacks on people and property last year were almost double the previous year's total of 207. The number of attacks recorded were those reported to the trust and police.

In the most serious incident, David Myers, an Orthodox Jewish student, was stabbed on a bus in Stamford Hill, north London, in October. He suffered 20 injuries to the chest, face, arms and legs caused by a man wielding a six-inch hunting knife. An Algerian man was arrested over the attack.

Days later, another Jewish man was stabbed by a white man in a suspected racist attack in Stanmore, north London.

Last October, Jewish leaders met Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, to inform him of the rising number of anti-Semitic incidents, including several attacks on synagogues.

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