The findings of a new in-depth study into anti-Semitism were released this week. The results showed that the highest percentages of anti-Semitism were found in British Muslims and those who identified as “very right-wing”.
The general population of Britain showed that just 2.4% of the British public expressed multiple anti-Semitic attitudes “readily and confidently”. Around 30% of the public agreed with at least one question that would be deemed as anti-Semitic. The study notes that the United Kingdom has one of the lowest levels of anti-Semitism in the world. However, there is clearly more work to be done.
Anti-Semitic attitudes in Muslims
Of those who responded to the Survey, 4.5% identified as Muslim. More than half of all Muslims surveyed (55%) hold at least one anti-Semitic attitude. The report says, “the presence of at least one anti-Semitic attitude is 1.3 to 2 times higher among Muslims compared to the general population.”
A more worrying fact is that expressions of “strong anti-Semitic attitudes” are “3-4 times higher” among Muslims than the general population. 12.6% of Muslims express strong anti-Semitic attitudes compared to 3.6% in the general population.
Another important piece of information is the study’s findings on anti-Semitic attitudes among those who identify as “religious Muslims”. The results find a correlation between religious Muslims and higher levels of anti-Semitic attitudes.
As you will see below this same problem does not occur with religious and non-religious Christians. So it begs the questions, “Why are religious Muslims more anti-Semitic than non-religious Muslims?”. Could it be that British mosques are to blame, as the survey shows those who attend mosque more regularly are more likely to be anti-Semitic, so are mosques teaching messages against the Jews. Or is it that those who know the Koran more are more anti-Semitic because of the teachings against Jews that are contained within it? After all, a study published a few weeks ago found that many jihadists and other radical Islamists (such as ISIS) have a deep understanding of Islamic theology. This study does not answer these questions.
Anti-Semitic attitudes in the “very right-wing”
What might surprise some (especially since these two groups are most likely to dislike each other) is that those who identify as “very right-wing” show very similar levels of anti-Semitism to Muslims.
Respondents to the survey were asked to identify where they stood on the political spectrum. The choices they had were very left-wing, fairly left-wing, slightly left-of-centre, centre, slightly-right-of-centre, fairly right-wing and very right-wing. They were also allowed to choose “Don’t know”.
Of those surveyed, the most anti-Semitic political group was those who identified as “very right-wing”. This group made up 1.4% of those surveyed. 52% of this group hold at least one anti-Semitic attitude, in contrast to 30% in the general population.
13% of the very right-wing hold 5-8 anti-Semitic attitudes in contrast to 3.6% in the general population. This means those who identify as “very right-wing” are almost four times more likely to hold strong anti-Semitic attitudes than the general population.
Anti-Semitic attitudes in Christians
The JPR came to the “clear conclusion” that “Christianity is not a significant driving factor of antisemitism in Great Britain today,” stating that at all levels of religiosity, the Christian faith is “not associated with heightened anti-Semitism or anti-Israel attitudes”.
Below is a write up from the report itself about the levels of anti-Semitism among the very left-wing, very right-wing and Muslims:
“Levels of both antisemitism and anti-Israelism are consistently higher among the Muslim population of Great Britain than among the population in general. The presence of antisemitic and anti-Israel attitudes is 2 to 4 times higher among Muslims compared to the general population.
Non-religious Muslims are the least likely group among all Muslims to hold antisemitic or anti-Israel attitudes, and come closest to the levels found in the general population, although they still remain above average.
Yet 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.
Levels of anti-Semitism among those on the left-wing of the political spectrum, including the far-left, are indistinguishable from those found in the general population.
Yet, all parts of those on the left of the political spectrum – including the ‘slightly left-of-centre,’ the ‘fairly left-wing’ and the ‘very left-wing’ – exhibit higher levels of anti-Israelism than average.
The most antisemitic group on the political spectrum consists of those who identify as very right-wing: the presence of antisemitic attitudes in this group is 2 to 4 times higher compared to the general population.
Although the prevalence of antisemitism on the far-right is considerably higher than on the left and in the political centre, the far-right remains marginal in British politics in general, as well as on the broader political right.”