Report Finds 'Unambiguous' Association Between Anti-Israel, Anti-Semitic Views

Of people who are strongly anti-Israel, 74 percent also hold at least one anti-Semitic attitude

Pakistani activists torch an Israeli flag during a protest
Pakistani activists torch an Israeli flag during a protest / Getty Images
September 15, 2017

A groundbreaking report out of the UK has found an "unambiguous" association between anti-Israel and anti-Semitic views.

Of people who are strongly anti-Israel, 74 percent also hold at least one anti-Semitic attitude, found the report, "Anti-Semitism in contemporary Great Britain: A study of attitudes towards Jews and Israel."

Though the link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism has been frequently reported on by the media, the joint Institute for Jewish Policy Research and Community Security Trust study claims to be the first "robust empirical documentation of the association between these two attitudes in Britain."

Over half the general British population hold at least one negative view about Israel, with such attitudes higher than average across the political left, according to the study.

The U.K.'s Labour Party—led by Jeremy Corbyn, who has referred to terrorist groups as his "friends"—has been hit by a stream of anti-Semitism scandals in recent years. A documentary released this summer called "Whitewashed" examined this issue, in what's been called a "painful…sobering" view of liberal British Jews' current relationship with their traditional political party.

Dave Rich, deputy director of the Community Security Trust, said the report conclusively shot down Labour's claim that it is an "anti-racist space" where anti-Semitism simply cannot be found.

"That's just not true. It is as easy to find there as is it anywhere else," Rich said.

According to the report, over a quarter of Brits harbor at least one anti-Semitic view, agreeing with statements like, "Jews exploit Holocaust victimhood for their own purposes," and "Jews think they are better than other people." However, only 2.4-percent of the British population could be considered "hard-core" anti-Semites.

Anti-Semitic views were found most among the political right and the Muslim community.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the U.S.-based Simon Wiesenthal Center's associate dean and director of its global social action agenda, told the Washington Free Beacon that the findings in Great Britain should be taken as a clarion call for American Jewry.

"They were hit in the U.K. from multiple directions at once, from the anti-Semitism in the power structure of the Labour Party, from the media insensitivity to concerns of the Jewish community, from the genocidal hatred of Jews in the Islamist movement," said Cooper. "Yes, the political realities here are profoundly different, but if American Jews sit back and say, 'It's all going to take care of itself,' we can wake up and find ourselves—especially on campus—in a similar situation."

"A lot of this is global. The BDS [boycott, divestment, and sanctions] movement is a serious threat, and you find it everywhere, across Europe and North America," he said.

Cooper said Republican and Democratic Jews alike must hold their respective parties to account at a time when both the anti-Semitism of the far-right and far-left seem to be increasingly empowered.

"We have a ton of work to do in this Jewish New Year," said Cooper, referring to the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

Published under: Anti-Semitism , Israel