World Jewish News
'The stronger your anti-Israel views, the more likely you are to also hold antisemitic views'
Only a small proportion of British adults can be categorised as ‘'hard-core'' anti-Semites – approximately 2% – but anti-Semitic ideas can be found at varying degrees of intensity across 30% of British society, according to the findings of a survey on anti-Semitism in contemporary Great Britain published by the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR).
Around 70 per cent of the British public have a favourable opinion of Jews and “do not entertain any anti-Semitic ideas or view at all”, the report said.
But around 3 % of people hold multiple anti-Semitic attitudes but are not confident about expressing them, and the report suggests that a “much larger number of people” believe negative stereotypes and ideas about Jews although they do not realise that doing so could be seen as antisemitic.
Collectively, around 30 per cent of the adult British population showed “anti-Semitic attitudes at different intensities”.
‘’Whilst this categorically does not mean that 30% of the British population is anti-Semitic, it does demonstrate the outer boundary of the extent to which anti-Semitic ideas live and breathe in British society,’’ the JPR commented.
‘’As such, it goes some way towards explaining why British Jews appear to be so concerned about anti-Semitism, as the likelihood of them encountering an anti-semitic idea is much higher than that suggested by simple measures of anti-Semitic individuals. In this way, the research draws an important distinction between ‘counting anti-Semites’ and ‘measuring anti-Semitism’ – the counts for each are very different from one another, and have important implications for how one tackles anti-Semitism going forward.’’
The survey also provided a detailed assessment of the population’s opinions about Jews and Israel, and addressed the question of the relationship between anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism using statistical techniques for the first time.’’
The research finds that levels of anti-Israelism are considerably higher than levels of anti-Jewish feeling, and that the two attitudes exist both independently of one another and separately. However, it also demonstrates that the greater the intensity of anti-Israel attitude, the more likely it is to be accompanied by anti-Semitic attitudes as well.
Looking at subgroups within the population, the report finds that levels of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism among Christians are no different from those found across society as a whole, but among Muslims they are considerably higher on both counts.
On the political spectrum, levels of anti-Semitism are found to be highest among the far-right, and levels of anti-Israelism are heightened across all parts of the left-wing, but particularly on the far-left.
‘’In all cases, the higher the level of anti-Israelism, the more likely it is to be accompanied by anti-Semitism.’’
Muslims were likely to be two to four times more likely to hold anti-Israel views than the general population, although the report found that 60 per cent of Muslims agreed that “a British Jew is just as British as any other person”.
Nearly half of people holding anti-Israel views across the political spectrum were revealed in the survey to also believe Jews exploit Holocaust victimhood.
Speaking at the presentation of the JPR survey, Dave Rich, Deputy Director of communications of Community Security Trust (CST) wtachdog, said the findings on left-wing antisemitism emerged after "prominent figures in Labour and Momentum repeatedly abused the memory of the Holocaust in pursuit of anti-Israel politics”.
Rich said the poll findings – which are backed by CST – shattered the claim by some that anti-Semitism did not exist in Labour because it was an "anti-racist safe space”.
He added: "The report shows levels of anti-Semitism on the left are the same as those for society as a whole.
"The defence we have heard from some in the Labour Party that because the left is an anti-racist space therefore by definition there can't be anti-Semitism - that's just not true,'' he said.
In the 80-page report, author and JPR research fellow Dr Daniel Staetsky concludes: “One might assume those on the far-left of the political spectrum would be more likely to hold anti-racist ideas than the population as a whole, but we did not find this to be the case with respect to anti-Semitism."
The report revealed those on the far-right combine a "relatively high level of anti-Semitic attitudes with a relatively high level of anti-Israel attitudes."