Jewish communities across the United Kingdom have experienced a sharp increase in antisemitic hate crime over the previous fortnight. There has always been a surge in incidents targeting the community when tensions are high in the Middle East. However, the increase in cases along with the severity and levels of vitriol is unprecedented.
Ensuring the conflict does not play out on the streets of the United Kingdom remains the primary concern of the Jewish Leadership Council and Community Security Trust. Both organisations are working with local and national government to ensure community cohesion remains intact.
We are grateful to the Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward for taking the time to meet with CST Regional Director, Amanda Bomsztyk and Jewish Leadership Council Regional Manager, Marc Levy. Cllr Ward was joined by Waqar Ahmed (Assistant Director for Community Safety & Resilience) and Cllr John Cotton. The discussion focused on incidents that have taken place across Birmingham and the United Kingdom. The Council detailed their extensive work across the whole of society. Their focus has been designed to promote understanding and combat hate crime across the city.
AMANDA BOMSZTYK, NORTHERN REGIONAL DIRECTOR OF CST AND MARC LEVY, NORTH WEST & WEST MIDLANDS REGIONAL MANAGER OF THE JEWISH LEADERSHIP COUNCIL SAID:
“We are grateful to Cllr Ward and the team at Birmingham City Council for their time. Their proactive actions show how a local authority can tackle this nuanced issue. The scenes that have unfolded over the past fortnight have highlighted why the adoption and implementation of the IHRA definition on antisemitism is of critical importance. We are heartened and reassured by the stance that Councillors Ward and Cotton are adopting. Their dedication to protecting the Jewish community in Birmingham from potentially hostile reactions to a conflict thousands of miles away is hugely appreciated.”
COUNCILLOR IAN WARD, LEADER OF BIRMINGHAM CITY COUNCIL SAID:
“Our city is made up of people who can trace their roots back to virtually every country in the world. Diversity is in our DNA and reflected in our values of tolerance and respect. That is why when one of our diverse communities is threatened by hate or violence, we are all threatened. We stand shoulder to shoulder with all our communities and, particularly at this difficult time our Jewish community and will continue to fight all forms of discrimination.”
COUNCILLOR JOHN COTTON, CABINET MEMBER FOR SOCIAL INCLUSION, COMMUNITY SAFETY AND EQUALITIES OF BIRMINGHAM CITY COUNCIL SAID:
“Whilst we appreciate that emotions are running high due to world events, there is no justification for the surge in anti-Semitic hate crime that has been seen across the UK and in parts of our City. We will continue to support and engage with the Jewish Community locally and utilise upon our strong inter-faith networks, calling out hate speech when we hear it and focussing more upon what unites us than divides us.”