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Police investigating claims Jewish children have been prevented from getting on buses

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Police are investigating claims Jewish children have been prevented from getting on buses in London.

In one incident, several Jewish schoolboys were waiting at Egerton Road bus stop in Stamford Hill, north London and signalled for it to stop. The driver initially slowed down but then continued without stopping, the complaint says.

It is claimed several passengers were encouraging the driver’s alleged actions, making antisemitic remarks and expressing their gratitude for the bus not stopping, the Met Police said. The incident is said to have occurred at around 8.05am on the 76 bus towards Waterloo, on 26 November.

People take part in a march against antisemitism organised by the volunteer-led charity Campaign Against Antisemitism at the Royal Courts of Justice in London in November

(Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire)

The alleged incident was reported to Shomrim – the Jewish Community Safety Patrol – and to the Met by a passenger who felt “threatened, intimidated, shocked, and scared” as he was the only Jewish person on the bus at the time. He said he was angered by the “apparent complicity of the bus driver and other passengers”, a Shomrim spokesperson said.

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A similar incident is said to have taken place three days later, on the 318 bus, on Ravensdale Road in Hackney at around 7.40pm. A 13-year-old Jewish girl reported her bus initially slowing down for Jewish boys putting their hands out for it to stop.

She claimed the driver then rapidly accelerated and did not allow them on. At the next stop, a non-Jewish Londoner was permitted on board, suggesting “discriminatory behaviour by the driver”, the complaint claims.

Transport for London (TfL) said it was taking the reports “extremely seriously”, adding: “We do not tolerate any form of discrimination on our network.”

There has been a rise in antisemitic hate crimes since the Hamas attacks, with this Kosher restaurant in Golders Green vandalised in October

(Reuters)

It comes after the Metropolitan Police said antisemitic attacks in London increased by 1,353 per cent following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas conflict on 7 October.

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Chaim Hochhauser, chief executive of Shomrim, described “children terrified to go home from school or use public transport” as he said: “We are talking about kids waiting at bus stops to go onto buses. Bus drivers see the Jewish people waiting for buses and they say, ‘No, you are not getting on,’ and drive off.

“It’s happening all over – at supermarkets and clothes stores, they say, ‘We are not serving you Jewish people.’ We are seeing it all over London, and it’s unfair. Why should we suffer like this? Our children don’t know what is happening in the Middle East, they don’t have TVs, it’s not their fault.

“We receive phone calls every day to our 24/7 hotline, asking, ‘If it is safe for my children to go to school, go to the park, or even go to hospital appointments?’ We have to say, ‘It’s business as usual, just be aware of your surroundings, and notify us if something looks suspicious etc.’”

The Israel-Hamas war has had an impact on the UK’s Jewish and Muslim communities

(AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Hochhauser said the number of hate crimes reported to his organisation has rocketed in recent weeks, as he fears an incident will “start with shouting” but spiral into far worse.

He said: “We have never had so many hate crimes in one month. Usually, on average, it’s three a week. Since 7 October, Shomrim has reported 84 hate crimes. We are not talking about nationally this is happening, just around the Stamford Hill neighbourhood.

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“We are Charedi Orthodox Jewish people, we are an easy target, and we are vulnerable. Our greatest fear is that it starts with shouting, but it doesn’t end there, and someone will get hurt.”

A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed officers are investigating the bus incidents in Hackney.

“It is alleged that the drivers slowed while approaching bus stops where children were waiting, before speeding up without stopping,” a spokesperson said. “On both occasions it is suggested that the children were obviously Jewish based on their appearance.

“It is alleged that during [one] incident the other passengers on the bus made antisemitic remarks in support of the driver’s actions.”

A TfL spokesperson added: “We do not tolerate any form of discrimination on our network and take any reports of this extremely seriously. We are investigating these reports and would urge anyone who has experienced discrimination, or has information about any incidents, to report this to us or the police so that it can be investigated.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 providing the reference 4606/26NOV in relation to the incident on 26 November or 6372/29NOV in relation to the incident on 29 November.

Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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Source: Independent

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