The United Kingdom’s main watchdog group on anti-Semitism reported a record 1,309 incidents in 2016, constituting a 36 percent increase over the 2015 tally.
Of the anti-Semitic incidents recorded last year by the Community Security Trust, or CST, 107 were cases of physical assault, compared to 87 in 2015, the report published Thursday said.
While the 2016 figure in the assault category was the highest since 2010, the bulk of incidents – 1,006 of them – belonged to the “verbal and written anti-Semitic abuse” category, which covers emails, letters, text messages and tweets.
The increase is not attributable to any specific trigger, as has been the case in years when fighting broke out between Israel and its enemies, the report said. Instead, CST cited a “combination of events and factors,” including an unprecedented public debate about anti-Semitism within the Labour Party, terrorist attacks in Western countries and the June referendum in which a majority of voters supported a British exit from the European Union.
“CST did record a small number of anti-Semitic incidents during 2016 that made direct reference to the European Union or to Brexit, but not enough to explain, on their own, the overall high total for the year,” the report said in reference to the referendum, which British police said triggered a slew of hate crimes, though not many against Jews.
“These events, and their subsequent discussion in mainstream and social media, provided material and motivation for anti-Semitic hate incident offenders,” CST wrote.
Another factor driving the increase is the growing awareness to the importance of reporting anti-Semitic incidents, CST noted, though it is still likely “that there is significant underreporting of anti-Semitic incidents,” CST wrote.