update deskAntisemitism

Jews attacked in London; police respond only after being called 10 times

Tehilla and two friends say they were attacked in Leicester Square by a group of "15 to 20" people after being overheard speaking Hebrew, and were told by police "you're not the only ones to call tonight."

Anti-Israel protesters in London on Oct. 14, 2023. Credit: Koca Vehbi/Shutterstock.
Anti-Israel protesters in London on Oct. 14, 2023. Credit: Koca Vehbi/Shutterstock.

Three Jews, all in their 20s, were violently attacked in Leicester Square in central London early on Sunday morning. The victims were reportedly targeted after being overheard speaking Hebrew.

Tehilla, 28, told the Telegraph about the harrowing experience. Despite making 10 distress calls to the Metropolitan Police fearing for her life, no officers responded, she said.

En route to a nightclub, the trio initially sought to defuse the situation when accosted for speaking Hebrew and opted to walk away. The three were confronted again about 2 a.m., this time with threats and offensive language in Arabic.

“They heard us talking and said, ‘Are you Jewish?’” Tehilla told the paper. “I said, ‘Yes, I’m Jewish.’ And then they started chanting ‘Free Palestine’, and [expletive] Jews, all this kind of swearing at us.”

The situation escalated rapidly, with assailants growing from two or three to a mob of 15 to 20 people, who attacked the three physically, according to the Daily Mail.

Tehilla was disheartened by the police’s lack of immediate response to her repeated calls.

“They don’t really care. They kept saying ‘I’m sorry. It takes some time, you are not the only one that called tonight,’” she said, expressing shock at the incident.

According to the Daily Mail officers arrived at the scene only after 28 minutes had elapsed.

Police arrived at Tehilla’s residence some 16 hours after the first call. 

A friend of the victims claimed that police did not show up at the hospital, where the victims were being treated, despite assurances they would do so.

Detective Superintendent Lucy O’Connor stated that the incident is under investigation as an antisemitic hate crime. She expressed regret over the delayed police response, emphasizing the commitment to combating hate crimes in the city.

“I know how upsetting such inexcusable violence is for anyone who was injured or who witnessed the incident, and also for the wider community. I share their concerns,” said O’Connor.

The police urged witnesses to come forward and pledged to speak with the victims to gather statements.

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