Half of Britain holds an antisemitic view

More than half of British Jewish people said they feared Jews have no future in Great Britain, according to today's poll.Reuters

Nearly half of the British population holds an antisemitic view, according to a new poll published in a report today (Wednesday).

Britain is at "tipping point" on the issue of antisemitism, the report says.

The YouGov poll for the Campaign Against Antisemitism comes in the wake of shocking anti-Jewish outbursts in Paris after the Charlie Hebdo and other recent Islamist fundamentalist murders, which included a deadly attack on a Jewish supermarket.

Pollsters found that 45 per cent of Britons hold an antisemitic view.

And in a second survey carried out by the campaign itself, more than half of British Jewish people said they feared Jews have no future in Great Britain. A quarter of British Jews have considered leaving.

The YouGov survey, commissioned ahead of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust to be marked on Holocaust Memorial Day later this month, found that one in eight Britons believe Jewish people use the Holocaust as a means to get sympathy.

Between them, the two surveys found that one in four British people believe Jews chase money more than other British people, one in six people believe that Jews think they are better than other people and that Jews have too much power in the media.

More than half of all British Jews feel that antisemitism now echoes the 1930s and nearly as many fear their family is threatened by Islamist extremism. Nearly eight in ten said they had witnessed antisemitism disguised as a political comment about Israel.

There are nearly 270,000 Jewish people living in Britain, 0.4 per cent of the population. The community has thrived in Britain since Oliver Cromwell permitted their readmission to the country 360 years ago but the report shows that many people still harbour anti-Jewish opinions.

It says that although some antisemitic views may be unintentional, they are no less offensive for it. Many people in the UK have simply never met Jewish people, it says.

Last year saw the most antisemitic incidents since records began 30 years ago. In July 2014 alone, London suffered its worst ever month for hate crime, 95 per cent of which was against Jews.

The Annual Antisemitism Barometer is the largest study of its kind. While antisemitism in Britain is not at the levels seen most of Europe, the report says the poll results should be a wake-up call.

"Britain is at a tipping point: unless antisemitism is met with zero tolerance, it will continue to grow and British Jews may increasingly question their place in their own country," it says.

Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism said: "Britain's Jews must be shown that they are not alone. The government is clearly taking this seriously and in light of these figures we expect that the Police and Crown Prosecution Service will want to accelerate discussion of the five-point plan presented at our meeting with the Home Secretary last week."

Jonathan Sacerdoti, also of the campaign, said: "Jewish people have contributed to almost every part of British life, yet rising antisemitism 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."