A senior Rabbi was assaulted and subjected to anti-Semitic abuse in Stamford Hill as police figures show that hate crime in Hackney has hit a two-year high.
According to data released by the Metropolitan Police, in October, there were 11 recorded hate crime offences; a 57 per cent increase from August, and the highest number since November 2017. Over the last two years, there have been 154 recorded incidents in the borough, second-only in London to Barnet.
The attack on the Rabbi in Stamford Hill last Friday during the Jewish Sabbath follows an incident in which three Jewish children were attacked on the 253 bus in Clapham Common on November 24. Both incidents are being investigated by the police.
According to Chaim Hochhauser, of Stamford Hill Shomrim, the Rabbi was viciously assaulted by two males, who launched a violent tirade of anti-Semitic abuse at their victim. The Rabbi, who has not been named and holds the senior title of Dayan, was visiting London for a family wedding celebration.
Hochhauser told Eastlondonlines: “The Jewish community in Stamford Hill is shocked by this assault. Over the last two weeks the community have reported many hate crimes, [and] we have seen a significant rise in hate crimes over the last year”.
Elsewhere, Tower Hamlets and Croydon have observed a decline in anti-Semitic hate crimes over the last month, and whilst Lewisham has seen a rise, the number of incidents recorded has been far lower than the number in Hackney.
Across London, there has been a 17 per cent rise in anti-Semitic hate crime over the last month. Most recently, a video surfaced on social media of a man harassing a Jewish family on the London Underground. TfL reported that in the financial year 2018/2019, there were 315 religiously motivated attacks on the underground, an 8 per cent increase from the previous year.
The Jewish community have criticised the police and prosecutors for not taking a stronger stance. A spokesperson for Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA), a volunteer-led charity dedicated to exposing and countering antisemitism, told Eastlondonlines: “Obviously antisemitism at the front lines of our politics is understandably dominating the conversation, but the failure of the [Crown Prosecution Service] to prosecute anti-Semitic crime to the degree necessary is also a critical factor in why anti-Semitic crime persists”.
This was supported by Rabbi Levi Schapiro, from the Jewish Community Council in Stamford Hill, who told Eastlondonlines: “It is clear that the Met police in Hackney do not act fast enough and don’t take anti-semitism seriously, which is allowing more copy cat attacks to happen”.
The latest incidents and figures come against a background of debate about anti-Semitism in society and within the Labour Party. Amanda Bowman, vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, also told Eastlondonlines: “Events in the Middle East, antisemitism in the Labour Party as well as a general rise in hate-crimes exacerbated by uncertainty over Brexit have all played their part during this period”.
Earlier this year, the Constituency Labour Party in Hackney North and Stoke Newington which covers Stamford Hill and where Diane Abbott is standing for re-election as the MP, passed a motion “firmly rejecting accusations that Labour is ‘institutionally anti-semitic’ by 45 to 35, which was attacked by some party members.
According to a poll by YouGov, conducted between 2018-2019 and commissioned by CAA, 84 per cent of British Jews regard Jeremy Corbyn as a threat. In the CCA’s ‘Anti-Semitism Barometer 2019’, chief executive Gideon Falter responded by saying: “The leader of the once fiercely anti-racist Labour Party is now the candidate of choice for anti-Jewish racists”.
However, in an interview with the Hackney Gazette, Rabbi Herschel Gluck, the president of the Stamford Hill Shomrim, shifted the focus away from the Labour Party, instead pointing towards a decline in police resources as a result of austerity measures: “These are anti-Semitic attacks, pure and simple, and I think they are part of a pattern that started long before Brexit and have increased exponentially since the current government came in. I do not think any of the attacks in Hackney have been caused by issues in the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn”.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism told Eastlondonlines: “We have not seen connections between Brexit or austerity with anti-Semitic hate crime.” This Sunday, the Campaign will host a demonstration against anti-Jewish hate crime at Parliament Square.