A major new study has provided key insights into the UK population’s opinions about Jewish people and Israel, fundamentally finding that “stronger anti-Israel attitudes are linked to stronger antisemitic attitudes” among Britons.
The study, which is the largest and most detailed survey of attitudes towards Jews and Israel ever conducted, shows that while “the prevalence of antisemitic people is marginal in Great Britain; the prevalence of antisemitic ideas is rather more common”.
Produced by the Community Security Trust (CST) and the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) and published this week, the study’s findings show that “the existence of strong, sophisticated, perhaps internally coherent and at times even ‘learned’ antisemitism, where open dislike of Jews is combined with developed negative ideas about Jews, does not exceed 2.4 percent of British adults”.
However, “30 percent of the British society hold at least one antisemitic attitude”, though the report makes clear that this “emphatically does not mean that 30 percent of the population of Great Britain is antisemitic”.
While “56 percent of the general population hold at least one anti-Israel attitude”, the report states that “this does not mean that 56 percent of the population of Great Britain is anti-Israel; it rather captures the diffusion of anti-Israel ideas in British society”.
12 percent of the population have “hard-core” negativity towards Israel, expressing multiple anti-Israel views “readily and confidently”. A further 21% of the population endorse “fewer, but nonetheless multiple, anti-Israel attitudes, often couched in less certain terms”.
The study found that ultimately, “anti-Israel attitudes are not, as a general rule, antisemitic; but the stronger a person’s anti-Israel views, the more likely they are to hold antisemitic attitudes”. The prevalence of anti-Israel attitudes was assessed in the survey by “an entire battery of questions focusing exclusively on what respondents feel and think about Israel, independently from what they feel and think about Jews”.
Levels of both antisemitism and anti-Israelism are “consistently higher among the Muslim population of Great Britain than among the population in general”, with the study finding that “the presence of antisemitic and anti-Israel attitudes is 2 to 4 times higher among Muslims compared to the general population”. However, “most Muslims (60%) – religious or not – agree with the statement ‘A British Jew is just as British as any other person,’ and most either disagree with, or are neutral on, every one of the antisemitic statements presented to them”.
The full report can be found here.