Daily Express: Eric Pickles’ bid to stem anti-Jewish graffiti in UK

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Luciana Berger was targeted by racists Tony Buckingham

Luciana Berger was targeted by racists
Tony Buckingham

ERIC Pickles will today urge councils to do more to combat a surge in “pernicious” anti-semitic graffiti appearing around Britain.

By: Macer Hall Daily Express

The Communities Secretary is writing to local authorities asking them to step up the reporting and removal of hate-filled daubings on public and private property.

Under laws to crack down on anti-social behaviour, councils have powers to swiftly remove any physical sign of hatred anywhere in order to minimise the risk of increased tensions between community groups.

They are also expected to ensure that whenever any anti-semitic or racist graffiti appears, the incidents are properly recorded and reported to the police for investigation.

An increase in anti-Jewish graffiti – including sickening slogans scrawled over gravestones – has been reported by the Community Security Trust, which monitors anti-semitic incidents in the UK.

Last summer saw a sharp increase in the number of incidents, according to the Trust.

The organisation recorded 302 incidents in July alone, compared with 304 in total during the first six months of this year.

Mr Pickles said last night: “A particularly pernicious expression of anti-semitism and other forms of hatred is the daubing of slogans or symbols, via graffiti or the fixing of stickers and posters, onto both public and private property.

“In these instances, a visible display of hate can increase tensions between communities, as well as providing a physical reminder to the victim of the abuse they have suffered.

“We must all continue to stand unified against all forms of hatred be it anti-semitism, anti-Muslim hatred, racism or homophobia, whatever its manifestation, whether it is expressed on social media, as a physical attack, as a verbal threat, or in any other manner.”

A visible display of hate can increase tensions between communities

Mr Pickles’s letter to local authorities comes after it was revealed that a Jewish MP has received more than a thousand abusive messages including death threats on social media.

Luciana Berger, Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, was sent “vile” messages on Twitter, including images of her face superimposed on photographs of prisoners at the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz.

The attacks were reported to have been co-ordinated on both sides of the Atlantic by a far-Right extremist in the US.

A 21-year-old man was arrested in Somerset last Thursday on suspicion of harassment in connection with the hate campaign.

Ms Berger said it was “deeply regrettable that Twitter continues to host graphic, abusive, antisemitic messages long after they first appear.”

And the shadow public health minister expressed surprise that Twitter did not appear to have a mechanism to monitor and erase hate-filled abuse from its pages.

She added: “It is extremely worrying that they do no have the processes in place to deal with such abuse in the swift and effective manner that we expect from an online platform of such size and reach.”