Almost half of Britons hold antisemitic view, poll suggests

Nearly half of the British population agreed with one of four antisemitic statements presented to them according to a new poll, which found that one in eight of those surveyed believe that Jewish people use the Holocaust as a means of gaining sympathy.

It also found that one in four (25%) Britons believed that Jews chase money more than other British people, a figure which rose to 39% of those participants who identified themselves as Ukip voters.

The research by YouGov was commissioned by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA), a network of activists in the UK which said that Britain was at a “tipping point” and warned that antisemitism would grow unless it was met by “zero tolerance”.

The group also carried out its own separate survey of British Jews, which found that 54% feared they had no future in the UK and that a quarter had considered leaving the country in the last two years.

The CAA described the research as “a wake-up call” following last week’s terror attacks in France, in which the victims included four Jewish men who were killed in a Paris Kosher supermarket.

Jonathan Sacerdoti, a spokesman for the campaign group, said: “Jewish people have contributed to almost every part of British life, yet rising anti-Semitism here and across Europe means that now more than ever Jews are afraid. Some are even reconsidering their future here.

“British values of tolerance and pluralism must be upheld, so that minority groups like Jews feel comfortable and protected.”

The YouGov research was carried out between 21 December and 6 January, when 3,411 British adults were surveyed on their attitudes towards British Jews.

One in six (17%) felt Jews thought they were better than other people and had too much power in the media, while one in 10 people (11%) claimed Jews were not as honest in business as other people.

One in five believed their loyalty to Israel made British Jews less loyal to the UK, while one in 10 people (10%) said they would be unhappy if a relative married a Jew.

Of those polled, men were more likely than women to believe at least one of the antisemitic statements which were put to them. Of those polled, 30% of Scots believed at least one statement (the lowest by area of the UK) compared with 49% of residents of the north of England (the highest).

Sacerdoti said that the findings did not necessarily mean that half of the population of the UK was antisemitic, but that it was quite possible that many people had picked up on stereotypes.

He added that the CAA had embarked on the research as it was aware that many Jewish people had been saying that they felt increasingly uneasy and it was felt that a “tipping point” had been reached over the Summer. Approximately 269,000 Jewish people live in Britain, making up 0.4% of the population.

The number of antisemitic attacks in the UK last year was highest recorded in the past three decades. The Community Security Trust, which records attacks on the Jewish community in the UK, found there had been a 36% rise in the total number of antisemitic incidents, including violent crime and vandalism, to 304 between January and June. That was followed by 130 incidents in July alone, which coincided with the Israeli military offensive in Gaza.

The CAA’s own survey of the of 2,230 British Jews found that 56% felt that antisemitism in Britain has some echoes of the 1930s, which rose to 64% of Jewish people in the north of England.

Some 58% were concerned that Jews may not have no long-term future in Europe, while some 45% felt their family was threatened by Islamist extremism.

Last year saw a 20% increase in British immigrants to Israel, according to the Jewish Agency, which facilitates the migration of diaspora Jews to Israel. However, it contrasts with the much large rate of departure from France, where the number of French Jews leaving for Israel more than doubled the total from 2013.