Man assaulted and Hanukkah display damaged in antisemitic attack

CCTV image of a man that police wish to trace in connection with a hate crime outside West Hampstead Overground Station

Police wish to speak with this man in connection with a hate crime outside West Hampstead Overground Station - Credit: Met Police

A man was assaulted and a Hanukkah display damaged in an antisemitic hate crime in West Hampstead.

Police were called shortly after 7.30pm on December 2 to reports of a racially aggravated assault in Heritage Lane, outside West Hampstead Overground Station.

The victim, aged in his 20s, reported that he was approached by a man who made antisemitic comments and damaged a display that had been put up to celebrate the festival of Hanukkah.

The man then assaulted the victim while implying he had a knife, before leaving the scene. 

The victim was not seriously injured, according to the Met.

The incident was described by home secretary Priti Patel as “seriously disturbing”.

She said in a tweet: “Seriously disturbing antisemitic incident in north London. I will remain in close contact with @metpoliceuk and @CST_UK as the investigation progresses and I would urge anyone with info to contact the police immediately.”

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Director of investigations and enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism Stephen Silverman said: “What this victim suffered is unspeakable.”

He added: “This is the most heinous of a considerable number of antisemitic crimes that we have reported over the course of Hanukkah.

"The sad truth is that our nation’s capital is not nearly as safe as it should be for Jewish people who wish to celebrate a festival or, in this case, simply go about their daily lives.

“Unless the police and the justice system step up and ensure that antisemitic criminals face the full consequences of their despicable actions, this will not change.

“We are providing the victim with legal and other assistance. We urge the public to assist in the identification of the individual whose description has now been circulated."

Cllr Abdul Hai, Camden's cabinet member for young people, equalities and cohesion, and Cllr Nadia Shah, cabinet member for safer communities, said in a statement: “Camden is no place for hate. We want to reassure all of our Jewish residents that anti-Semitism will not be tolerated and we urge our residents to help the police in their investigations by providing any information they may have on this incident.”

Police have released a CCTV image of a man they wish to speak to in connection with the incident.

Anyone who recognises him is asked to contact police on 101 or tweet @MetCC quoting reference CAD 6588/02Dec.

Information can also be reported anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.