AN American was subjected to an anti-Semitic rant just because he was taking too long to choose some cheese in a north Oxford shop.

Igor Goldkind said he was picking out dairy in the North Parade grocery store when another customer became impatient and the abuse started.

It included, at one point, the man saying: “I will buy you the cheese but I will take half – like you took half of Palestine.”

The 50-year-old has reported the clash to the police and said: “I have never experienced that in my life before.

“I was in the queue at the grocer and we were talking about cheese and I was trying to select a portion of cheese.”

He said the man behind him in the queue asked about Mr Goldkind’s origins and Mr Goldkind told him he was Jewish-American.

Mr Goldkind, who is not a practising Jew, said: “That’s when it started. It just went on and on. Everyone was so shocked.”

Thames Valley Police is now investigating the incident.

Mr Goldkind, who also lives in North Parade, said: “I do not think this gentleman should be permitted to utter that kind of racial abuse in public.

“He felt an entitlement to put me in my place as a Jewish person and I think that is despicable.

“He apparently just wanders around Oxford spitting his bile at anyone who will listen to him.

“There is a tendency to turn your back on this. But I am not English. I am American and we make a fuss.”

Simon Fineman, of Farndon Road, was also shopping when he witnessed the outburst.

The 54-year-old, who is also Jewish, said: “He was just trying to provoke a reaction by saying outrageous things and he managed it. I thought what he said was horrible but I wasn’t going to rise to it. It was genuinely unpleasant but there was no violence.”

It comes as reports of racially or religiously aggravated crime increased two per cent in Oxford last financial year from 54 to 55.

Police also recorded 100 racist incidents between April 1 last year and March 31 this year – up on the 95 in the period before. Racist incidents that were not classed as a crime by police rose 37 per cent to 85 from 62.

Jonathan Bard, vice president of the Oxford Jewish Congregation, said incidents like this were extremely rare.

He said: “This reflects on the person who did the abuse rather than Oxford.”

No arrest had last night been made but a Thames Valley Police spokesman confirmed the incident was being investigated.

No-one from the shop was available for comment.