The Crown Prosecution Service has now concluded a consultation on the prosecution of crime on social media, paving the way for its new guidance on the issue to be adopted. Antisemitism on social media is a growing problem, made all the worse by the culture of impunity which allows UK-based antisemites to incite hatred against Jews without fear of the law, but Campaign Against Antisemitism does not expect the Crown Prosecution Service’s new guidance to make much difference.
The problem is not that the old guidance was inadequate, or that the new guidance fails to make improvements: we were happy with the old guidance, we participated in the consultation, and we are happy with the new guidance.
The problem is that out of 15,442 cases of hate crime prosecuted last year, we only know of the Crown Prosecution Service prosecuting twelve cases of antisemitic hate crime. The same year that the Crown Prosecution Service managed to so resoundingly ignore cases of hatred against Jews, crimes against Jews reached the highest level on record. This failure by the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute antisemites sends three messages: it tells the police that effort investigating antisemitism is probably going to be wasted, it tells Jews that they are not going to be protected, and it tells antisemites that they can continue to stoke the flames of antisemitism.
The Crown Prosecution Service is badly broken, and no amount of guidance will fix that unless the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, starts to authorise prosecutions against antisemites. At present, she shows no signs of doing that.