Rise in anti-Semitic hate incidents as 557 cases reported from January to June
Anti-Semitic hate incidents jumped in the first half of this year as the Jewish community was targeted three times every day, figures have revealed.
The Community Security Trust (CST), a charity which monitors anti-Semitism, recorded 557 hate incidents in the UK between the start of January and the end of June.
This was an 11% increase compared to the same period last year, and the second-highest total for the first six months of a year since the organisation began compiling the data in 1984.
The tally included 41 violent assaults - a 13% fall compared to the first half of last year - with none classified as involving extreme violence.
There were 32 incidents of damage and desecration of Jewish property, while 431 were in the abusive behaviour category. This included verbal abuse, anti-Semitic graffiti, abuse via social media and one-off cases of hate mail.
The CST also recorded 43 direct threats, and 10 cases of mass-mailed leaflets or emails.
Social media has become an "essential tool" for those who wish to harass, abuse and threaten Jewish public figures, the charity's report warned.
It recorded 133 anti-Semitic incidents that took place on social media in the first six months of 2016 - making up just under a quarter of the total.
Most of the overall increase during the first half of this year came in April, May and June, when the CST logged 99, 125 and 112 incidents respectively.
The numbers recorded in May and June were the fourth and sixth highest monthly tallies the charity has recorded.
There was no "obvious single cause" for the high monthly totals, the report said. The CST did not record a significant increase in anti-Semitic incidents immediately after the EU referendum. Rises were reported for other forms of hate crime in the wake of the poll.
April, May and June "did see sustained public debate about anti-Semitism, particularly in relation to the Labour Party, and about racism and extremism more generally", the report added.
CST chief executive David Delew said: "This rise in reported anti-Semitism comes at a time when division, intolerance and prejudice appear to be deepening within our society.
"Reversing this worrying trend requires real leadership from all political parties, and for the social media companies to take their share of the responsibility."
Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who last month launched a hate crime action plan, said: " I condemn the deplorable rise in anti-Semitic hate incidents in the first half of this year and will continue to work with law enforcement partners and with the Jewish community to ensure their safety and security."
More than three-quarters of the incidents were recorded in Greater London and Greater Manchester. However, the 62 that took place in Greater Manchester was a 54% drop compared to the first half of last year.
Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham said: "There are worrying increases in incidents of anti-Semitic behaviour as many forms of hate crime rise across the country too. However, while we can't be complacent, I welcome the fall in reports in the Greater Manchester area."
Labour MP John Mann, chairman of the a ll-party parliamentary group against anti-Semitism, said: " This is a worrying rise in incidents set against a backdrop of increasing hate crime across the country."