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Author(s): Kuperberg, Rebecca
Date: 2021
Author(s): Kasstan, Ben
Date: 2021
Abstract: Maintaining ‘faith’ in vaccination has emerged as a public health challenge amidst outbreaks of preventable disease among religious minorities and rising claims to ‘exemption’ from vaccine mandates. Outbreaks of measles and coronavirus have been particularly acute among Orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods in North America, Europe and Israel, yet no comparative studies have been conducted to discern the shared and situated influences on vaccine decision-making.

This paper synthesises qualitative research into vaccine decision-making among Orthodox Jews in the United Kingdom and Israel during the 2014–15 and 2018-19 measles epidemics, and 2020–21 coronavirus pandemic. The methods integrate 66 semi-structured informal interviews conducted with parents, formal and informal healthcare practitioners, and religious leaders, as well as analysis of tailored non-vaccination advocacy events and literature.

The paper argues that the discourse of ‘religious’ exemption and opposition to vaccination obscures the diverse practices and philosophies that inform vaccine decisions, and how religious law and leaders form a contingent influence. Rather than viewing religion as the primary framework through which vaccine decisions are made, Orthodox Jewish parents were more concerned with safety, trust and choice in similar ways to ‘secular’ logics of non-vaccination. Yet, religious frameworks were mobilised, and at times politicised, to suit medico-legal discourse of ‘exemption’ from coercive or mandatory vaccine policies. By conceptualising tensions around protection as ‘political immunities,’ the paper offers a model to inform social science understandings of how health, law and religion intersect in contemporary vaccine opposition.
Date: 2018
Date: 2021
Date: 2021
Abstract: Executive summary
• Three of the four ‘alternative media’ platforms analysed were found to promote a
negative view of Jews
• The fourth was found to promote a negative view of Muslims, but not of Jews
(although it sometimes made use of arguments and images that are in other
contexts used to stigmatise Jews)
• A significant relationship was found between holding antisemitic views and having a
positive opinion of each of the three platforms that were found to promote a
negative view of Jews
• A significant relationship was also found between holding antisemitic views and
having a positive opinion of the Russian state-owned propaganda broadcaster, RT
(formerly Russia Today)
• By contrast, there was no relationship, or a substantially weaker and more conflicted
relationship, between antisemitism and evaluation of named ‘mainstream media’
sources
• Moreover, drawing on the ‘mainstream media’ in general for political information
was associated with lower levels of antisemitism
• In the interests of reducing prejudice, it would appear desirable to encourage use of
high quality, reputable sources of information at the expense of low quality fringe
sources
• Partial solutions to the problem could include:
- Demonetisation of problematic websites (for example, through withdrawal of
advertising)
- De-prioritisation of content from such websites in social media news feeds
and search algorithms
- Guidelines for members or employees of organisations such as political
parties, voluntary sector organisations, trade unions, and media companies,
both against sharing content or repeating claims from such websites and
against providing them with content in the form of interviews, quotations, or
stories
- In extreme cases, legal or regulatory sanctions against the owners of the
websites themselves
• However, it is at least as important for government, individual consumers, and other
stakeholders (including social media companies) to play their part in ensuring that
reputable media-producing organisations are able to remain viable as businesses
that can both invest in and promote high-quality content within a democratic
regulatory framework
Date: 2018
Date: 2021
Abstract: This article presents research notes on an oral history project on the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on Jews over the age of 65 years. During the first stage of the project, we conducted nearly 80 interviews in eight cities worldwide: Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Milan, New York, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and St. Petersburg, and in Israel. The interviews were conducted in the spring of 2020 and reflect the atmosphere and perception of interviewees at the end of the first lockdown.

Based on an analysis of the interviews, the findings are divided into three spheres: (1) the personal experience during the pandemic, including personal difficulties and the impact of the lockdown on family and social contacts; (2) Jewish communal life, manifested in changed functions and emergence of new needs, as well as religious rituals during the pandemic; and (3) perceived relations between the Jewish community and wider society, including relations with state authorities and civil society, attitudes of and towards official media, and the possible impact of COVID-19 on antisemitism. Together, these spheres shed light on how elderly Jews experience their current situation under COVID-19—as individuals and as part of a community.

COVID-19 taught interviewees to reappraise what was important to them. They felt their family relations became stronger under the pandemic, and that their Jewish community was more meaningful than they had thought. They understood that online communication will continue to be present in all three spheres, but concluded that human contact cannot be substituted by technical devices.
Date: 2021
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic hit the British Jewish community hard. According to data gathered by JPR in July 2020, 25% of British Jews had already contracted the virus by that time and Jewish mortality rates in London in April 2020 – the peak of the first wave – were almost three times as high as usual. In Manchester, the picture was even worse.

Building on our previous studies on this topic, this paper looks at Jewish mortality over the first year of the pandemic, taking in both the first wave (March to May 2020) and the second wave (December 2020 to February 2021).

Whilst it confirms that excess mortality among Jews during the first wave was considerably higher than among comparative non-Jews (280% higher compared to 188%), it reveals that the second wave saw the opposite picture: 69% higher than expected levels of mortality for that period among Jews, compared to 77% among the non-Jewish comparative group. This second wave picture is exactly what one might expect to see given that Jews typically enjoy relatively good health and longevity, so it forces us to ask again: what happened during the first wave to cause such devastation across the Jewish community?

Whilst not yet definitive about their conclusions, the authors point towards the ‘religious sociability’ hypothesis – that notion that close interaction between Jews, prior to the first lockdown, caused the devastating spike in Jewish deaths early on. The paper also demonstrates that the ‘Jewish penalty’ at this time was greater among Orthodox Jews than Progressive ones which further strengthens the hypothesis, as much higher proportions of Orthodox Jews gather regularly for religious reasons than Progressive Jews (even though Progressive Jews do so more regularly than British society as a whole).

The fact that the picture of extremely high excess mortality among British Jews was not repeated during the second wave (on the contrary, excess mortality among Jews was very slightly lower than among the comparator non-Jewish population, and slightly higher among Progressive Jews than Orthodox ones), suggests that the religious sociability theory was no longer a major factor at this time. With many synagogues closed or complying closely with the social distancing policies established by government, Jews were affected by coronavirus in much the same way as others.

The findings in this paper should be taken seriously by at least two key groups. Epidemiologists and public health experts should explore the impact of religious sociability more carefully, as currently, socioeconomic factors tend to dominate analysis. And Jewish community leaders must also reflect on the findings and, in the event of a similar pandemic in the future, consider instituting protective measures much more quickly than occurred in early 2020.

Author(s): Renton, David
Date: 2021
Abstract: Between 2015 and 2020 the Labour Party was riven by allegations that the party had tolerated antisemitism.

For the Labour right, and some in the media, the fact that such allegations could be made was proof of a moral collapse under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Sections of the left, meanwhile, sought to resist the accusations by claiming that the numbers of people accused of racism were few, that the allegations were an orchestrated attack, and that those found guilty were excluded from the party. This important book by one of Britain’s leading historians of anti- fascism gives a more detailed account than any yet published of what went wrong in Labour. Renton rejects those on the right who sought to exploit the issue for factional advantage. He also criticises those of his comrades on the left who were ignorant about what most British Jews think and demonstrated a willingness to antagonise them.

Table of Contents
1. Introduction

2. The Uniqueness of Antisemitism

3. Naz Shah and the Cause of Palestine

4. Ken Livingstone and the Crimes of Zionism

5. Jews and the Slave Trade

6. Seeing No Evil: Trump and the US Right

7. Seeing No Evil: Corbyn and the Mear One Mural

8. Jewdas and the Figure of the Bad Jew

9. The Labour Left and the Israel Lobby

10. The Labour Right and Anti-Zionist Jews

11. The Bullying of Luciana Berger

12. Fighting the Rich, Without Fighting Jews

13. From the Edge of the Anti-War Movement

14. Israel’s Eastern European Allies

15. On Gatekeeping

16. Antisemitism and Black Emancipation

17. Conclusion
Date: 2021
Abstract: In this report, the authors investigate the likely prevalence of COVID-19 and Long Covid among Britain’s Jewish population. Based on data collected by JPR in July 2020 – five months into the pandemic – they found that infection was already widespread in the Jewish community with a quarter (25%) of respondents (aged 16 and above) reporting having experienced COVID-19 symptoms (although testing in the UK was not widely available at this stage.) This accords with other national data showing that BAME groups, including Jews, suffered particularly badly in the early stages of the pandemic.

The data also confirm findings that the strictly Orthodox community was most likely to have been infected (40%) at this stage. And while respondents who self-described as having ‘very strong’ religiosity or who characterised their outlook as ‘religious’ were also far more likely to report having experienced COVID-19 symptoms, it appears that synagogue or communal involvement (rather than membership) is associated with higher levels.

The report also shows that almost two out of three (64%) respondents first experienced symptoms in March 2020, which was the clear peak of infection up to July 2020 when the survey took place. Nevertheless, more than one in six (16%) said they first experienced symptoms in February 2020, and these cases were mainly among more secular members of the Jewish community.

Reports of ongoing health issues following a COVID-19 infection began to appear early on in the pandemic. Gradually, data emerged about Long COVID showing it to be associated with 205 symptoms affecting multiple organs. In January 2021 it was estimated that 300,000 people in the UK may have been suffering from Long COVID. Our data showed that at least 15% of respondents, who said they had experienced COVID-19 symptoms, reported Long COVID symptoms in July 2020, similar to the levels found in the UK generally.

Respondents who had pre-existing health conditions, were far more likely to report Long COVID than those without such conditions. The most commonly reported health concerns were shortness of breath, affecting half of sufferers (51%), followed by ‘severe fatigue’ affecting 43%. Long COVID sufferers were also more likely to report lower levels of happiness and higher levels of anxiety.

Long COVID may ultimately be one of the main long-term health legacies of the coronavirus pandemic. While many gaps in our understanding of this complex health issue remain at the time of publication, JPR will continue to investigate this and other key health issues confronting the Jewish community during the pandemic.
Author(s): Dart, Jon
Date: 2021
Abstract: In June 2020, Black Lives Matter UK (BLM-UK) posted a series of tweets in which they endorsed the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Calling for ‘targeted sanctions in line with international law against Israel’s colonial, apartheid regime,’ one tweet claimed that ‘mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism’. The tweets were seen by some to be antisemitic and resulted in the English Premier League, the BBC and Sky Sports, which had hitherto been supportive of the Black Lives Matter protests, distance themselves from the Black Lives Matter movement. One month later, during the BLM protests in the USA, Black NFL player DeSean Jackson posted material to his Instagram story that was also viewed as antisemitic. This article unpacks, via these two sports-based incidents, the relationship between anti-racism, antisemitism, and anti-Zionism. I discuss how these tensions are not new, but a clear echo of the tensions that existed in the 1960s and 1970s during the height of the Civil Rights Movement; these tensions continue because the foundational issues remain unchanged. These two incidents raise important questions about how sports organisations operate in a world where sport is seen as ‘apolitical’ and strive for ‘neutrality’ but fail to recognise sport is political and that a position of neutrality cannot be successfully achieved. The article assesses the challenges that arise when sports organisations, and their athletes, choose to engage in a certain kind of sport politics.
Author(s): Flax, Maya
Date: 2019
Abstract: Records of antisemitic incidents in the UK have reached an all-time high in the last 3-5 years. I have used antisemitism to mean in this study: any form of hostility or prejudice towards Jews based on their identity. The main objective of this study is to explore a section of the Jewish community, which has been marginalised in research on antisemitism: The Orthodox Jewish community. Being most visible, as identifiable Jews, within the Jewish community, they are also the ones most frequently targeted. Drawing on qualitative data resulting from 28 interviews with Orthodox Jewish individuals as well as five focus groups with key stakeholder, this thesis explored the lived experienced of antisemitism within the Orthodox Jewish community. It investigated the types of antisemitic incidents, the impacts and meaning which participants attached to these incidents, the perceptions of antisemitism, the coping mechanisms which were adopted in order to respond to the climate of antisemitism and the perceptions of agencies which respond to antisemitism. The thesis generated four main findings. First, the pervasive nature of antisemitism and its prevalence within the lives of Orthodox Jews. Second, the awareness that there is a resurgence of antisemitism and that there has been a shift in its manifestation, making it more institutionalised and therefore powerful. Third, that despite the high prevalence rate of incidents among the community, most respondents chose to normalise and accept the victimisation. My thesis proposes that the reasons respondents were able to show agency and to accept the incidents is due to their strong religious identity and their close 3 community ties. Finally, this study offers recommendations to support the Orthodox Jewish community; to address in a practical way some remediable issues uncovered by this study.
Author(s): Staetsky, L. Daniel
Date: 2021
Author(s): Bush, Stephen
Date: 2021
Abstract: The brutal, racist murder of George Floyd on 25 May 2020 sparked a reckoning about the treatment of Black people all over the world, and the undeniable reality of systemic racism and discrimination in societies on both sides of the Atlantic. We vociferously expressed our concerns about this at the time. However, we realised that we needed to go further. No community is immune from the scourge of prejudice and ours is no exception. As society as a whole sought to examine racial diversity, the Board of Deputies became aware of moving and concerning testimonies of Black members of our own community about their experiences.

As such, we launched this Commission to learn more about the experiences of Black Jews, Jews of Colour and Sephardi, Mizrahi and Yemenite Jews, to examine the issues and make recommendations for how our community can do better. We were delighted that the eminent journalist of Black and Jewish heritage, Stephen Bush, agreed to Chair the Commission.

The report’s release in the week that George Floyd’s murderer has been found guilty, and on this year’s Stephen Lawrence Day, feels particularly poignant, especially given the Commission’s many references to the Macpherson report into the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

Our Commission has considered 17 different areas of communal life, and the ground-breaking report makes 119 recommendations, with profound implications for British Jewry. Among them are the following:



Representative bodies and organisations involved in rabbinic training should encourage members of under-represented ethnic groups to put themselves forward for communal roles
Jewish schools should ensure that their secular curriculum engages with Black history, enslavement and the legacy of colonialism, and review their curriculum through a process led by students, particularly those who define as Black or of Colour
Jewish studies departments should ensure that their teaching celebrates and engages with the racial and cultural diversity of the Jewish community worldwide, including Mizrahi, Sephardi and Yemenite tradition
Communal institutions, particularly synagogues and schools, should commemorate key dates for diverse parts of the community, like the Ethiopian Jewish festival of Sigd and the official Day to Mark the Departure and Expulsion of Jews from the Arab Countries and Iran (30th November)
Schools and youth movements should improve training for teachers and youth leaders on tackling racist incidents
Communal bodies and Jewish schools should establish regular listening exercises that seek the concerns of their members or students
Communal bodies should ensure that complaints processes are accessible, transparent, fair and robust, with all complaints related to racism handled according to the Macpherson principle, and specific new processes for handling complaints about security
Communal venues should ensure that their security guards or volunteers desist from racial profiling
Communal venues should institute bag searches for all visitors, including regular attendees, so as not to stigmatise people who look different, without compromising on security
A code of conduct should be developed for discourse on social media, making clear that attempts to delegitimise converts, calling people names such as ‘Kapo’, or using Yiddish terms such as ‘Shvartzer’ in a racist way, are completely unacceptable
Batei Din should improve processes for conversion, including stricter vetting of teachers and host families, and a clearer process for complaints
Author(s): Critchell, Kara
Date: 2014
Abstract: Moving away from traditional encounters with Holocaust education in academic research this study explores the role of Holocaust education in the construction and mediation of British historical consciousness of the Holocaust. Following contextual explorations of the role of two of the most dominant symbols to have emerged within the field of Holocaust education since the establishment of the National Curriculum, the Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau, this study closely analyses the way in which each of these Holocaust icons has been represented and utilised within educational programmes promoted by the Holocaust Educational Trust. It is shown that the educational representations of these symbols contribute to the domestication of Holocaust consciousness within a British narrative, reinforcing positive interpretations of British national identity and the benefits of liberal democracy whilst, simultaneously, distancing the crimes committed during the Holocaust from the British public through representing these acts as the very antithesis of what is deemed to be British. Through such analysis it is demonstrated that Holocaust education, as it exists in Britain today, reflects the British context in which it has evolved whilst illustrating how it has also fundamentally been shaped by this same context. Whilst considering the ways in which these representations both reflect and shape understandings of the Holocaust this study also illustrates that the Holocaust as it exists in popular consciousness, and educational programmes, is being increasingly unmoored from its historical context as the iconic symbols associated with it are becoming gradually dehistoricised as a means of providing relevant “lessons” for contemporary society. As Holocaust educators reach a crossroads in their field and prepare to decide the future shape British Holocaust education will assume this research constitutes a timely contribution to existing knowledge and understanding of how the Holocaust is encountered within the educational sphere and within British society and culture.
Date: 2021
Abstract: As soon as the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic became evident, concern began to be expressed in the Jewish community about how its effects might damage different aspects of Jewish life. Our July 2020 survey of Jews across the UK was designed to investigate some of these effects and bring some data into policy discussion about the future of the community.

In this fifth paper drawing on those survey data, we examine the impact of the pandemic on the working lives of Jewish people in the United Kingdom. It begins by studying how the experience of Jews compares to that of the wider population, and explores the issues of employment, redundancy and furlough, as well as other work disruptions such as income reduction, working from home, and caring for children. With very little data on Jewish employment available, this report provides key insights into the ways in which the community was impacted over the first five months of the pandemic, and points to how it is likely to have been affected subsequently. By providing this analysis, we hope to help UK Jewish community organisations and foundations to respond appropriately to the challenges identified.

Of particular note among the findings: the Jewish employment rate had declined at a lower rate than among the general population, but the Jewish unemployment rate had increased at a higher rate. Whilst many Jews have experienced serious work impacts, and many among the high proportions of self-employed Jews have lost income without having the same access to government financial support as the employed, it seems unlikely that the Jewish population as a whole has suffered disproportionately. We found that those who were most likely to experience severe work disruptions (defined as being made redundant, being furloughed, having their pay reduced and/or having their hours reduced) were the youngest workers (aged 16-24), Jewish women (especially regarding furlough and redundancy), single parents, those with household incomes below £30,000 per year prior to the pandemic, and the most religious respondents, especially Strictly Orthodox workers, more than half of whom (52%) experienced one or more of these severe impacts.

A follow-up survey planned for the coming months will determine how things have changed further since July among Jews, but it is nevertheless already clear that communal investment in employment support is needed, since all national indicators tell us that the employment situation has generally deteriorated since that time. Continued monitoring of Jewish employment rates is imperative if we are to determine and understand how the overall picture is changing and whether various endeavours being undertaken to address the challenges are effective. This will require a combination of continued investigations using data gathered within the community, as well as new investments in analysing and interpreting national data sources to shed light on long-term trends.
Author(s): Boyd, Jonathan
Date: 2021