By Dion J. Pierre
April 27, 2023 2:29 PM
An unknown person or group broke into the London office of StandWithUs (SWU UK), an educational nonprofit that promotes education about Israel, the group confirmed on Wednesday.
The perpetrators came in through the ceiling on the morning of Israel Independence Day and left a burning candle next to a SWU UK T-shirt. After discovering what happened, the group alerted local police and Community Security Trust (CST), a nonprofit that provides security services and training to Jewish communities across the UK. An investigation is ongoing.
“Our staff were shaken but are determined,” StandWithUs UK Executive Director Isaac Zarfati. “We remain committed to our mission of working tirelessly towards countering antisemitism and misinformation about Israel, regardless of this hateful attempt to intimidate us. This intimidation is indicative of what Jewish and Zionist students face regularly from those who seek to discriminate against them. It will not stand.”
Antisemitic incidents are a constant threat to the quality of life of the UK’s Jewish community. Despite declining 27 percent in 2022, the number of incidents tracked by Community Security Trust, 1,652, was the fifth highest since it began compiling data on them in 1984. In London, a wave of crime has been hitting the Orthodox Jewish Community, with dozens of incidents being reported by Shomrim Stamford Hill, a community watch group, in recent years.
An increasing number of incidents, target children, CST said in a report issued in February. 15 percent of victims were minors. 20 percent of offenders whose ages authorities report were minors themselves and more likely to have been motivated by conspiracies and antisemitic tropes.
“Years of anti-Jewish hate have left a lasting legacy, and what we consider ‘normal’ today would have been an alarm call just a few years ago,” CST chief executive Mark Gardner said in February. “The growing involvement of younger people in antisemitism shows us what the future may hold if we do not address this problem urgently consistently, and with a lasting commitment for action.”
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