Jewish journalist blames 'Ken Livingstone copycats' for rise in anti-semitism

'The more anti-Semitism is talked about the more reported incidents rise', says Jewish journalist

Stephen Pollard thinks some copied Ken Livingstone

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Jewish journalist has said "copycats" inspired by the likes of Ken Livingstone are fuelling a rise in anti-semitism in the UK.

The Community Security Trust says the number of UK anti-Semitic incidents in the first half of the year has hit a record high. It found 767 reported incidents between January and June this year, rising by almost a third compared to the same period in 2016.

Stephen Pollard, the editor of The Jewish Chronicle, told Julia Hartley-Brewer: "The more we talk about it, the more people seem to carry on and sort of take a lead."

Livingstone is currently suspended from the Labour Party for remarks linking Hitler to Zionism. The remarks have been widely described as anti-semitism, although the former Mayor of London refutes this charge.

Pollard said: "In the first half of this year we had the whole Ken Livingstone Hitler story again. I think there were sort of copycat incidents and that prompts other people and out in the street to sort of take a lead from Ken Livingstone. 

"When there is a toxic atmosphere, [people] follow that atmosphere."

He also said there is currently a debate about whether social media is "creating hate itself" or simply providing a platform for people who already hold these views.

Pollard thinks it's most likely people held the views already as "it’s unlikely people are suddenly going to wake up and become anti-Semitic because there’s Twitter there."

He added "I probably spent the first 30 years of my life never even thinking about" anti-Semitism being an issue, "probably, rather arrogantly perhaps, thinking that I lived in a generation where that kind of abuse and that kind of hatred had disappeared. It hasn’t."

Pollard says now we need education and zero tolerance for anti-Semitism as well as "constant reporting, constant looking out and refusing to sit back and accept it."

Listen to the full interview above