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BARNET: Anti-Semitic attacks fuelled by Gaza conflict
The current crisis in the Middle East has led to violent reprisals against the Jewish community in the borough of Barnet.
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators rampaged through Golders Green Road last Wednesday, targeting Jewish and kosher businesses while shouting anti-Semitic slogans, according to Barnet Police.
It is now believed almost a third of all the anti-Semitic attacks carried out across the country since the conflict in the Middle East began, have occurred in the borough.
A series of graffiti attacks took place around Temple Fortune and Golders Green on December 30, which was followed on New Year’s Eve by a violent protest involving a group of up to 20 men.
Witnesses described how the gang remonstrated outside Jewish-owned restaurants and shops and specifically focused its abuse on the London Jewish Family Centre in Golders Green Road.
A shop owner in the road, who declined to be named, said he had hired security guards to patrol his shop in the evenings.
He added: “Just because we are in another country doesn’t mean we won’t feel the effects of the conflict.
“It is not the first time we have experienced attacks when there is trouble in the Middle East. We know it is going to happen.”
A police spokesman confirmed officers had been called to the disturbances last Wednesday evening, but the group had dispersed by the time they arrived.
He said police chiefs were in talks with the Community Security Trust (CST) in a bid to maintain the safety of the Jewish community.
Acting Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Tucker, acting borough commander, said: “We were aware the activity in Gaza was going to have an impact because of our very large Jewish population in the borough.
“We will not tolerate any incidents of anti-Semitism, and will investigate any allegations robustly.
“People have a legitimate right to demonstrate but that cannot be a front for anti-Semitism or any other type of crime.”
“We have liaised with the CST in advance to make sure our response is joined up.”
A CST spokesman said about eight incidents had been reported in the borough since last week, and added the organisation remained at its second highest level of alert.
He said: "It is an unfortunate situation that we have seen before, that when there is increased conflict in the Middle East there is a knock on affect in Britain.
"It is racism at its most basic. There are standing security procedures across the Jewish community and obviously at the moment it is a case of reminding people to carry out these procedures properly and remain extra vigilant."
Police have appealed to anyone with information on the attacks to contact them on 030 0333 1212 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.