A major new study of antisemitism in Great Britain, employing statistical analysis of the largest dataset ever gathered on the topic, is being launched today by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research.
Supported by the Community Security Trust, the report, entitled Antisemitism in contemporary Great Britain: A study of attitudes towards Jews and Israel, provides a meticulously-researched and detailed assessment of the population’s opinions about Jews and Israel, and addresses the question of the relationship between antisemitism and anti-Israelism using statistical techniques for the first time.
It also investigates the opinions of several key subgroups in the population, including those on the left and right of the political spectrum, and those identifying as Christian or Muslim.
Authored by JPR Senior Research Fellow, Dr Daniel Staetsky, the report presents multiple measures of antisemitism, and argues that antisemitism, like all attitudes, exists at different levels of intensity and with different shades to it. Specifically, it differentiates between ‘counting antisemites’ (i.e. the proportion of the population that can meaningfully be regarded as consistently hostile towards Jews), and ‘measuring antisemitism’ (i.e. the extent to which prejudicial ideas about Jews permeate society). It demonstrates that while the proportion of people in the population who are hard-core antisemites is small, antisemitic canards and ideas can be found in a much wider section of society – a finding which helps to shed new and important light on why antisemitic discourse can often seem far more prevalent than conscious or deliberate antipathy to Jews per se.
However, the report also finds that most of the population of Great Britain has a favourable opinion of Jews, and does not entertain any antisemitic ideas or views at all. This confirms previous research demonstrating that levels of antisemitism in the country are among the lowest in the world.
By measuring the population’s attitudes both towards Jews and towards Israel, the study created the possibility of determining whether they correlate with one another. The report identifies a clear link between antisemitic and anti-Israel attitudes, demonstrating empirically that the stronger the level of anti-Israel feeling, the more likely it is to be accompanied by antisemitic attitudes. Yet it also finds that antisemitic and anti-Israel attitudes do not always coexist, and that it is entirely possible to express strong anti-Israel views without simultaneously harbouring antisemitic ones.
The complete report is available for download here.