News in focus: ‘Anti-Semitism attacks forced me out of Newham’ claims Jewish former Plaistow resident
- Credit: Archant
“I can’t go into Newham because I am a Jew.”
The furore over Labour party suspensions has brought a new light on anti-Semitism in Britain this week, but one former resident claims the issue is so bad in the borough he had to flee his home.
Yisro’el Shalom lived in Rudolph Road, Plaistow, until May last year and claims he was physically attacked 30 times in a three-year period for being a Jew.
Between March 2010 and March 2013, he says he was verbally attacked 65 times and spat at in the street, culminating in swastikas being sprayed across his house.
On more than two occasions he claims he was beaten to within an inch of his life by a group of young men to shouts of “kill the Jew” and would often find men trying to break into his house.
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Now living in Finchley, Mr Shalom has recently been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such was the severity of his assaults.
“I was driven out of my home,” he said. “I had to flee my home just because I was a Jew. I can’t go into Newham because I am a Jew.
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“You hear about these no-go areas for police in France, but I never thought for a second that would happen in Newham under a so-called democratic governance.
“I can’t go into Newham. I’ve got friends and neighbours living there that I haven’t seen in over a year because I can’t go back there.
“I’m supposed to be able to walk down any damn street that I want in this country but sadly that’s just not how it is.”
Held at knife-point on more than one occasion, Mr Shalom took to wearing a stab-proof vest outside his home and installed bars and a metal gate to protect his home.
In June 2011, death threats and Nazi symbols were daubed onto his home .
“After the graffiti attack I only ever went out for Shabbat to the synagogue,” he said. “I never went out on the streets because I needed to be in the house all the time.
“All my doors and windows were double-locked and I spent four months ordering food online, and just walking from room to room.
“I couldn’t put music on because I needed to hear if anybody was trying to get into the house.
“One day I just said to myself, ‘You’re a coward, you need to come to terms with things, and very quickly I did come to terms with the fact I was going to die in Newham, simply because I was a Jew.”
The number of anti-Semitic crimes reported in Newham has doubled in the past year.
According to Met Police figures, eight incidents were recorded in the 12 months leading up March this year, four more than the previous year.
However Cllr Jo Corbett, cabinet member for equalities, and a Jew herself insists the borough is a place for everyone to get along.
“I am sad to hear about Mr Shalom’s experiences,” she said.
“The majority of our residents have told us that they feel that Newham is a place where people from different backgrounds get on well with each other and as a Jewish woman myself I totally agree.
“This is a diverse and tolerant borough that welcomes people from all communities, faiths and backgrounds.”
A spokesman for the Met said: “We will not tolerate hate crime and take positive action to investigate all allegations, support victims and arrest offenders.
“Victims of hate crime must be assured that they will be taken seriously by the police.
“No one should suffer in silence, so please report hate crime to us as soon as possible so we can act.”