(March 4, 2022 / JNS) A newly released survey presents a mixed outlook on Jewish security in the United Kingdom, as 65% of Jews feel that British law enforcement and courts do not do enough to help stop anti-Semitic incidents, even as some 57% of non-Jewish respondents appear to hold no anti-Semitic views.
The Antisemitism Barometer 2021 report was released by the Campaign Against Antisemitism, which works to educate about and combat hate in the U.K., in coordination with King’s College London.
Key findings included that 43% of non-Jewish British adults agree with at least one anti-Semitic statement posed to them by researchers, with 10% agreeing with several anti-Semitic statements and the most commonly held anti-Semitic belief among Brits being that “Israel treats the Palestinians like the Nazis treated the Jews;”46% of British Jews decline to display symbols of Judaism because of anti-Semitism, including wearing a kippah or a Star of David in public; and 92% of British Jews say anti-Semitism at universities is a problem, with nearly 84% saying it is “quite a big” or “very big problem.”
The release of the study comes after a year of record-breaking anti-Semitic activity. According to the Community Security Trust, a total of 2,255 incidents of Jew-hatred across the U.K., including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, were reported in 2021, up from 1,684 the previous year. Much of that hate came amid the Israel-Hamas war last May. The report also comes several years after Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, known for his history of anti-Semitic remarks, had been removed from the party; Labour also committed to do better for the Jews of the U.K.
“The Jewish community’s optimism that followed the Corbyn years has been shaken, particularly by the surge in anti-Semitism during the conflict between Hamas and Israel last May,” said Gideon Falter, CEO of the Campaign Against Antisemitism. “Once again, too many British Jews are questioning their community’s future in the U.K. and fear for the future of European Jewry as well. With more than one in 10 British adults holding entrenched anti-Semitic views and record-breaking numbers of reported anti-Semitic incidents, there is clearly reason for discomfort.”
He added, “Political parties, the arms of law enforcement, unions, universities, religious institutions and social media companies all have a responsibility to step up and do their part, including by adopting our recommendations, to reverse these worrying trends.”
According to the survey, more than 65% of British Jews believe that law enforcement is not doing enough to combat anti-Semitism. The report includes several recommendations which address that concern, including changing how anti-Semitic hate crimes are tracked by breaking them into a separate category. “This has been promised by the [Crown Prosecution Service] for over four years now, but has not materialized,” the report noted.
Other suggestions include appointing an official to “oversee the prosecution of all anti-Semitic hate crimes nationally. It is not always obvious to those without an understanding of the history of anti-Semitism when an anti-Semitic act has occurred.”
“In our experience, junior prosecutors … might not recognize certain types of anti-Semitic behavior or acts, for example following a Jewish person and imitating the sound of escaping gas, alleging the malevolent power of ‘the Rothschilds’ or calling a Jewish person a ‘baby killer’” the latter two referring to age-old Jewish canards,” stated the report.
As part of the survey, non-Jewish respondents were asked to give their thoughts on 12 questions, called the “Generalised Antisemitism Scale,” which was created by Daniel Allington of King’s College London, David Hirsch of Goldsmiths, University of London and Louise Katz of University of Derby. It consists of six questions to gauge “Judeophobic anti-Semitism” and “anti-Zionist anti-Semitism.”
Among the statements posed to non-Jewish participants for their agreement or disagreement were: “Jewish people can be trusted just as much as other British people in business,” “Compared to other groups, Jewish people have too much power in the media,” “Israel has a right to exist as homeland for the Jewish people” and “Israel and its supporters are a bad influence on our democracy.”
Jewish News Syndicate
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