An unprecedented study of anti-Semitism conducted by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) in Britain revealed that one in three citizens holds at least one anti-Semitic attitude, and showed an “unambiguous” link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, The Times of Israel reported Tuesday.
More than 4,000 members of the public contributed to the study in late 2016 and early this year, making it the largest and most detailed survey of attitudes towards Jews and Israel ever carried out in the country.
Collectively, around 30% of the adult British population showed “antisemitic attitudes at different intensities,” the report found. Meanwhile, 15% of citizens endorsed two or more anti-Semitic statements put to them, while an additional 15% agreed with one of them.
But the report also clarified that views, which researchers described as “hardcore anti-Semitic,” are harbored by no more than 2.4% of the British public. Around 70% of the population have a favorable opinion of Jews and “do not entertain any antisemitic ideas or view at all.”
The report revealed that Holocaust denial is not a widespread phenomenon in the country with only 2% of Britons agreeing that the Holocaust was a myth and a further 4% agreeing that it has been exaggerated. However, other anti-Semitic prejudices—including whether Jews “exploit Holocaust victimhood for their own purposes,” whether Jews “think they are better than other people,”” and “get rich at the expense of others”—had wider appeal with between 10 and 13% agreeing to some extent with those statements.
The study sought, for the first time in Britain, to test the relationship between anti-Semitism and hostility towards Israel and established an “unambiguous” link.
“A majority of those who hold anti-Israel attitudes do not espouse any anti-Semitic attitudes, but a significant minority of those who hold anti-Israel attitudes hold them alongside anti-Semitic attitudes,” the report stated. This is especially true for the far-left and the far-right, as well as British Muslims.
Moreover, the report found that 6% of the public believes that Israel has no right to exist, and around 10% voiced support for the BDS movement. It also revealed that 12% of Britons hold “hard-core” anti-Israel attitudes and a further 21% have what the report described as “softer negativity towards Israel.”
Arguing that “the data on anti-Israel attitudes is less good,” Jonathan Boyd, JPR’s executive director, expressed concern that almost one in four Britons, to some extent, hold the view that Israel is trying to wipe out the Palestinian population and about one in five agree that Israel is an apartheid state.
“These types of prejudices clearly have some currency in British society, and more needs to be done, both in Britain and Israel, to demonstrate their falsehood,” Boyd said.
Dave Rich, deputy director of communications at the Community Security Trust, which supported the survey, highlighted the importance of the study. “The finding that people who are strongly anti-Israel are also more likely to be anti-Semitic might seem obvious to some, but this is the first time it has been statistically proven,” he said.
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