A new survey of antisemitism in the United Kingdom has revealed that British Jews feel directly threatened by the BDS movement targeting Israel.
78% of Jewish respondents to the survey “felt intimidated by tactics used to boycott Israel,” the Antisemitism Barometer 2017 – carried out by the UK-based Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAAS) with polling consultant YouGov, and released on Sunday – noted.
Highlighting the close links between anti-Zionism and antisemitism perceived by the vast majority of British Jews, the survey disclosed that “78% had witnessed antisemitism disguised as a political comment about Israel or Zionism” and “81% said that media bias against Israel was fueling persecution of Jews in Britain.”
“It is very clear that British Jews consider that debate about Israel frequently veers into racism against Jews, and that far from creating peace in the Middle East, some aggressive anti-Israel campaigning tactics are simply generating misery at home in Britain,” Gideon Falter, the chairman of CAAS, told The Algemeiner.
There is also a strong consensus within the community as to who is responsible for antisemitism they face. “In both 2017 and 2016, we asked British Jews to rank different forms of extremism in the order that they concerned them,” the survey said. “Their responses showed a clear hierarchy of concern, ranking Islamism as the greatest concern, followed by far-left and then far-right extremism.”
“We have observed discourse about Israel being used as a disguised vector for antisemitism by Islamists, the far-left and the far-right, and it is extremely clear from these responses that British Jews are being victimized by those who cross from mere criticism of Israel into antisemitism,” the report added.
The survey also reported that around 31 percent of British Jews had “considered” leaving the country because of antisemitic hate crimes, which have increased by 45 percent since 2014. Another 37 percent of respondents revealed that they had “been avoiding displaying outward signs of their Judaism in public.”
British Jews were also critical of the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service, with more than half of respondents believing the government body has not done enough to bring the perpetrators of antisemitic crimes to justice. The UK Labour Party – which has been plagued by antisemitism scandals in the wake of the election of far left leader Jeremy Corbyn in 2015 – was also heavily criticized, with 80 percent of respondents accusing Labour of “harboring antisemites.” Among that group is the former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, whom Corbyn has refused to expel from the Labour Party for his consistent repetition of the falsehood that Adolf Hitler was a supporter of the Zionist movement.
The survey emphasized that amid these concerns about antisemitic violence and discourse, there was solid proof that a majority of Britons “have shunned a growing worldwide addiction to antisemitism and proved that so-called British values are no mere buzzphrase, but are embedded in our national being.”
“Since 2015, antisemitic prejudice amongst British adults has declined from 45% in 2015, to 39% in 2016, to 36% in 2017, but sizable sections of British society clearly do still hold deeply antisemitic views (measured as the number of antisemitic statements respondents agreed with),” the survey stated.
The number of convinced antisemites – those who agreed with at least four of seven antisemitic statements put to them – hovers at around 10 percent of respondents. 1,614 people were interviewed by YouGov about their attitudes to Jews, while the CAA surveyed 2,025 Jewish respondents. Approximately 300,000 Jews live in the UK.