Bus full of Jewish people attacked in Oxford Street while celebrating Hanukkah

Photo by: Jamie Davies on Unsplash

Anti-semitic incidents against the Jewish Community are rising in the UK as reported by the CST.

As Hanukkah is being celebrated in full swing, those in the Jewish community have been a major target for hate crime. This year, the 8 days of Hanukkah is from the 28th of November to the 6th of December which has led to many celebrations across London. Sadly, those celebrating couldn’t end their nights peacefully. 

On Monday, when celebrating Hanukkah a group of Jewish people were on an open top bus when they became victims to an attack by a group of men. As shown in the footage, the attack included a barrage of insults. The group of men in the video spat at them, and were seen shouting and making gestures that resembled the Nazi salute at the passengers on the bus. 

The Metropolitan Police have classed this incident as a hate crime following a report made to the Community Security Trust (CST) by those inside the bus. The charity helps provide security for the Jewish community in the UK, specifically when it comes to antisemitic incidents.

The Indepenent reported a CST statement by the director of policy who stated that “In the first six months of this year, we had the highest number of antisemitic incidents ever reported to the CST in the first six months of any year”. Following with the fact that “This disgusting incident goes against everything this city stands for and should be condemned by all”. 

The President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl also made a statement on twitter, stating that they were “appalled by the horrifying footage of Jewish people targeted on Oxford Street… We hope the police will swiftly identify and arrest those involved in this disgusting incident.”

Detective Inspector Kevin Eade of the Met’s Central West Command  made a statement on the Met website mentioning that it “was a deeply upsetting incident for a community group who were celebrating the Jewish festival Hanukkah”. Following with the fact that “There is no place in our city for hate crime. Everyone should be able to enjoy their lives without harassment”. 

The Metropolitan Police has since released images of the three men in hopes to identify them. If you think you may have witnessed the incident on Monday the 29th of November at approximately 8pm on Oxford Street, please get in contact with the Met police immediately. 

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has also condemned the incident by stating that : 

The Jewish community is shaken by the shocking incident, especially the victims on the bus. A representative of the Jewish Society at the University of Westminster has stated that “everyone one of us was shocked by an incident like this that was so close to the university”. Further stating that after such an awful incident “I do not intend to change my behaviour in any sense as I believe everyone should be free in how they think and express themselves”.  

This incident is not the first so it begs the question how often does such hate crime happen to the Jewish community? The CST provide support for the Jewish Community and have a ‘report’ section in which people can report anti-semitic incidences. As reported by the CST, anti-semitic incidents against the Jewish seem to be rising, with 2019 having the highest number of reports at 1,813 cases. Below a graph represents the number of cases within 2020 which was recorded at 1,668 cases. All of the below statistics are from the CST

Graph: Hannah Ozkadi. Data: Community Security Trust (CST)

The above data does not represent total cases of anti-semitism across the country as these are just specific reports made to the CST only and does not include any statistics by the Metropolitan Police. 

The representative of the Jewish Society at the University of Westminster further stated that “Coming from Germany I always looked a bit jealous towards Jews in Britain as I always felt more safe wearing my Kippa publicly in London compared to where I come from”. These incidents of hate crimes directed to the Jewish community shows that regardless of the country, anti-semitism is very much still present and extremely damaging. 

Words by: Hannah Ozkadi. 

Sub-edited by: Tia Janowski. 

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