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Study: Anti-Semitic Attitudes Higher Amongst Muslims in Britain

More than a quarter of people in Britain hold at least one anti-Semitic view, with the figure rising to 55 per cent amongst Muslims, according to a survey of attitudes to Jewish people.

Described as the largest and most detailed study of attitudes towards Jews and Israel ever conducted in Britain, the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) study found that around 70 per cent of the public have a favourable opinion of Jews and “do not entertain any anti-Semitic ideas or view at all”.

– More than a quarter hold at least one anti-Semitic view –

Whilst its research found that just 2.4 per cent of the public expressed multiple anti-Semitic attitudes “readily and confidently”, the Institute warned that a “much larger number of people”  — around 30 per cent  — registered agreement with negative stereotypes about Jews.

These include around 10 to 12 per cent of the population agreeing to some extent with assertions such as that Jews get rich at the expense of others, and that the interests of Jews in Britain are different from the interests of the rest of the country.

But overall, the study found attitudes largely positive, with just four per cent of respondents disagreeing with the statement: “British Jews make a positive contribution to British society.”

– More than half of Muslims hold at least one anti-Semitic view –

With more than 4,000 members of the public having contributed to the research, in late 2016 and early this year, the study looked in detail at the attitudes towards Jews in different parts of British society with regards to religion and political leanings.

The JPR came to the “clear conclusion” that “Christianity is not a significant driving factor of antisemitism in Great Britain today,” stating that at all levels of religiosity, the faith is “not associated with heightened anti-Semitism or anti-Israel attitudes”.

However, the study found such attitudes “are higher in prevalence than in the general population in all groups of Muslims exhibiting some degree of religiosity”, and “appear to have some association with intensity of religious belief and practice”.

Whilst just eight per cent of the British public agreed with the statement that “Jews have too much power in Britain”, the figure rose to 27 per cent amongst Muslims and 34 per cent amongst religious Muslims.

Belief that “the Holocaust is a myth” was five times more common amongst religious Muslims (10 per cent) than the general population (two per cent), with eight per cent of all Muslims registering agreement with the statement.

– Anti-Semitism and anti-Israel views –

The research process, which contained what the JPR called an “entire battery” of questions on Israel, revealed that around 12 per cent hold “hard-core” negative views of the country.

According to the study: “A clear majority of the British population is not anti-Semitic in any way. However, the greater the level of antipathy towards Israel, the more likely they are to register on the anti-Semitism index.”

Amongst respondents with strongly anti-Israel attitudes, the most commonly agreed with of the negative statements was that Jews exploit Holocaust victimhood for their own purposes, with about half of the group holding this opinion compared to just one in 10 in the general population.

“Invoking the Holocaust as a political weapon is especially objectionable, in the eyes of many Jews,” the researchers write, noting that the data “goes a long way towards explaining the degree of apprehension towards this segment felt in the Jewish community”.

–  Anti-Semitism in France –

The JPR said the idea to carry out the survey, in which respondents answered questions face-to-face and online, was “particularly prompted in the aftermath of the murder of four French Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris in January 2015”.

Since the Islamist attack on the Paris Hypercache, many French Jews have felt increasingly insecure and thousands have emigrated to Israel seeking safety.

The European Jewish Congress this week called on France to take strong action against anti-Semitism after an attack on a Jewish community leader and his family in their home outside Paris.

Prior to the attack, a former principal at a preparatory school in Marseilles — a city billed as Europe’s most dangerous, and where an estimated 30 to 40 per cent of residents are Muslim — Bernard Ravet, told L’Express newspaper that he actively encouraged Jews not to apply to his school out of fear they would “get beat to a pulp”.

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