Majority of British Jews Think They Have No Future in Europe

REUTERS/Paul Hackett
REUTERS/Paul Hackett

The majority of Britain’s Jews believe that Jewish people have no long term future in Europe, and a quarter have considered moving away from Britain recently thanks to rising anti-Semitism, a new report has found. The study, by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism also found that 45 percent of British people believed at least one of four anti-Semitic statements put to them.

The report’s authors have said that the finding should be a “wake up call”, as Britain is reaching a “tipping point”. They have called for “zero tolerance” to be shown to anti-Semitism in Britain to reverse the current trend of rising anti-Semitism in the UK.

There has been a marked increase in Anti-Semitism over the last year. Some of this has been sparked by tensions between Israel and Hamas flaring up over the summer, but it was widely noted at the time that underlying the protests against Israeli foreign policy was a simmering note of anti-Semitic slurs.

In August, Breitbart London gained exclusive video evidence showing anti-Israeli protestors sporting t-shirts emblazoned with Adolf Hitler’s face.  At other demonstrations protestors were heard shouting “Hitler was right”.

According to the Mayor of London’s office, July 2014 saw the Metropolitan Police Service record their highest ever levels of hate crime, 95 percent of which were anti-Semitic attacks precipitated by the fighting between Israel and Hamas.

Against this background, the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism commissioned two polls for its inaugural ‘Annual Anti-Semitism Barometer’. The first was a poll conducted by the Campaign amongst Britain’s Jewish population, asking 2,230 Jewish people whether they agreed with a number of statements.

They found that 58 percent of British Jews believe that Jewish people have no long term future in Europe, and more than half believe that anti-Semitism echoes that of the 1930s. One in four British Jews have considered leaving the country because of a rise in anti-Semitism, and 45 percent feel their family is threatened by Islamic extremism.

There was widespread support for the idea that the Jewish community has to protect itself as the state does not take the threat seriously, with 69 percent of those surveyed agreeing. 63 percent also said that the authorities let too much anti-Semitism go unpunished.

77 percent of Jews said that they had witnessed anti-Semitism disguised as political commentary about Israel, and a resounding 82 percent agreed that media bias against Israel fuels persecution of Jews in Britain.

The second poll, conducted by YouGov, examined the attitudes of the wider British public towards Jewish people. It presented those polled with a list of seven anti-Semitic statements and asked respondents how true or untrue they thought the statements were.

45 percent polled agreed with at least one of the statements, whilst 26 percent of people thought at least two of them were true. More than one in ten agreed with four or more statements.

One in four agreed that “Jews chase money more than other British people,” whilst one in five believe “Jews’ loyalty to Israel makes them less loyal to Britain than other British people.” 17 percent of people agreed with the statements “Jews think they are better than other people,” and “Jews have too much power in the media”.

Worryingly for Ukip, their supporters were more likely to agree with the statements than those who supported other parties. 39 percent of Ukip supporters thought that Jews chase money more than other Brits, whilst 21 percent agreed that “Jews talk about the Holocaust too much in order to get sympathy”, against 13 percent overall.

In October, Douglas Carswell, Ukip’s first elected MP used his victory speech to warn his new party that it must embrace all Britons, saying “We must be a party for all Britain and all Britons, first and second generation as much as every other. Our strength must lie in our breadth. If we stay true to that there is nothing we cannot achieve.”

Men were also more likely than women to support the statements: of those polled, 51 percent of men believe at least one anti-Semitic statement to be true, versus 39 percent of women. In total, YouGov polled 3,411 adults across the UK.

Commenting on the report, Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, and Jonathan Sacerdoti, the Campaign’s director of communications said “Whilst anti-Semitism in Britain is not yet at the levels seen in most of Europe, the results of our survey should be a wakeup call. Britain is at a tipping point: unless anti-Semitism is met with zero tolerance, it will continue to grow and British Jews may increasingly question their place in their own country.

“Some anti-Semitic views may be totally unintentional but are no less offensive for it. Many people in the UK have simply never met Jewish people, and might have stereotypical ideas of them. This is a smaller problem which simply needs better education and discussion so that people can appreciate that, as with any minority group, Jewish people are not defined only by their religion or race. ‘Unintentional’ stereotypes should be highlighted more often, and those espousing them will be able to better understand that they are offensive.

“To effectively fight anti-Semitism we must examine both its origins and its consequences. It is our hope that this study will shed light on both of these aspects of this pernicious form of racism, in order that we can reduce its presence in British society. Anti-Semitism is not a problem only for Jewish people, but for all of Britain, which must uphold its tradition of tolerance and pluralism.”




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