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Author(s): Wistrich, Robert
Date: 2004
Date: 2018
Date: 2019
Abstract: In late 2017, JPR published a major study of attitudes towards Jews and Israel among the population of Great Britain, a project supported by the Community Security Trust and the Department for Communities and Local Government. We regard it as a groundbreaking piece of work - the first study conducted anywhere that empirically demonstrates a clear connection between extreme hostility towards Israel and more traditional forms of antipathy towards Jews.

This report explores this connection yet further, focusing specifically on two particularly prevalent ideas that are often experienced by Jews as antisemitic: the contention that Israel is 'an apartheid state' and that it should be subjected to a boycott.

In the first instance, the study finds that large proportions of people actually have no view at all on these ideas, either because they do not know anything about the issues, or because they are simply unsure of where they stand on them. This is particularly the case for young people and women - knowledge levels improve and opinions sharpen the older people are, and, as has been found in numerous other studies, women tend to be less opinionated than men on these types of political issues.

However, among those who do have a view, 21% agree with the contention that 'Israel is an apartheid state,' 5% strongly so, and 10% endorse the argument that 'people should boycott Israeli goods and products (3% strongly so). About the same proportion (18%) disagrees with the apartheid contention as agree with it, but a much higher proportion disagrees with the boycott one (47%) than agrees with it.

Disagreement with the boycott idea is higher in older age bands than in younger ones, increasingly so among those aged 40-plus, a phenomenon that is not found in relation to the apartheid contention. But the ideas are not particularly sensitive to educational level - both agreement and disagreement with both contentions increase the higher the educational qualification achieved.

However, clear distinctions can be found when looking at the data through the lens of religion, with Muslims much more likely than other groups to support both contentions.

The report goes on to explore the correlations between these views and more traditional anti-Jewish ones, and finds clear links between the two, although this is more the case with the boycott idea than the apartheid one. However, it also notes that the correlation is stronger with other anti-Israel beliefs, particularly those arguing that Israel exploits the Holocaust for its own purposes, and those claiming that Israel is excessively powerful or the primary cause of troubles in the Middle East.
Author(s): Perra, Emiliano
Date: 2018
Author(s): Staetsky, L. Daniel
Date: 2017
Abstract: This study takes an in-depth look at attitudes towards Jews and Israel among the population of Great Britain, both across society as a whole, and in key subgroups within the population, notably the far-left, the far-right, Christians and Muslims.

It introduces the concept of the ‘elastic view’ of antisemitism, arguing that as antisemitism is an attitude, it exists at different scales and levels of intensity. Thus no single figure can capture the level of antisemitism in society, and all figures need to be carefully explained and understood.

It finds that only a small proportion of British adults can be categorised as ‘hard-core’ antisemites – approximately 2% – yet antisemitic ideas can be found at varying degrees of intensity across 30% of British society. Whilst this categorically does not mean that 30% of the British population is antisemitic, it does demonstrate the outer boundary of the extent to which antisemitic ideas live and breathe in British society. As such, it goes some way towards explaining why British Jews appear to be so concerned about antisemitism, as the likelihood of them encountering an antisemitic idea is much higher than that suggested by simple measures of antisemitic individuals. In this way, the research draws an important distinction between ‘counting antisemites’ and ‘measuring antisemitism’ – the counts for each are very different from one another, and have important implications for how one tackles antisemitism going forward.

The research finds that levels of anti-Israelism are considerably higher than levels of anti-Jewish feeling, and that the two attitudes exist both independently of one another and separately. However, the research also demonstrates that the greater the intensity of anti-Israel attitude, the more likely it is to be accompanied by antisemitic attitudes as well.

Looking at subgroups within the population, the report finds that levels of antisemitism and anti-Israelism among Christians are no different from those found across society as a whole, but among Muslims they are considerably higher on both counts. On the political spectrum, levels of antisemitism are found to be highest among the far-right, and levels of anti-Israelism are heightened across all parts of the left-wing, but particularly on the far-left. In all cases, the higher the level of anti-Israelism, the more likely it is to be accompanied by antisemitism. Yet, importantly, most of the antisemitism found in British society exists outside of these three groups – the far-left, far-right and Muslims; even at its most heightened levels of intensity, only about 15% of it can be accounted for by them.
Date: 2015
Abstract: On the 12th November, 2015, City University published independent academic research on British Jewish attitudes towards Israel. Funded by Yachad, 1,131 adult British Jews were surveyed on their views on Israel by Ipsos Mori between March and June of 2015. The research design, analysis and interpretation of the data was carried out by a research team comprising: Stephen Miller, Emeritus Professor of Social Research in the Department of Sociology at City University London; Margaret Harris, Emeritus Professor of Voluntary Sector Organisation, Aston University, and Visiting Professor at Birkbeck, University of London; and Colin Shindler, Emeritus Professor of Israel Studies, SOAS, University of London.

The research found that Israel plays a central role for British Jews, with 93% saying the Jewish state plays a “central”, “important” or “some” role in their Jewish identity, and 90% supporting Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. It reflected significant concerns about the security situation in Israel with many respondents ambivalent about withdrawal from the West Bank because of security concerns (50% vs 33% support the proposition that “Israeli control of the West Bank is vital for Israel’s security”), despite commitment to a two-state solution.

In addition:

75% stated that settlement expansion formed a “major” obstacle to peace. 68% endorsed the statement “I feel a sense of despair every time Israel approves an expansion of the settlements”.
73% felt that Israel’s current approach to the peace process has damaged its standing in the world.
There is strong support for Israel to “cede territory” in order to achieve peace (62% for, 25% against). But if withdrawal is seen as posing a risk to Israel’s security, the majority then oppose withdrawal (50%:33%).
61% felt that the Israeli government’s first priority should be “pursuing peace negotiations with the Palestinians. 64% felt they had the right to judge Israel’s actions though they do not live there.
58% agree with the statement that Israel “will be seen as an apartheid state if it tries to retain control over borders that contain more Arabs than Jews” (22% disagree).
Almost 80% of respondents consider that, in the context of the conflicts raging around the world, those who condemn Israel’s military actions “are guilty of applying double standards”.
“Hawks” on Israel significantly overestimated how widely their views were shared by a factor of two while “doves” underestimated theirs by 10%. British Jews who believe Palestinians have no claim to own land think their views are shared by 49% of British Jewry, despite the actual figure being 14%.
Hannah Weisfeld, director of Yachad said of the findings of the report:

“The community is shifting. Feelings of despair, conflict between loyalty to Israel and concern over policies of the government are mainstream not marginal positions. The research shows we are more willing to speak out on these issues than ever before. Members of Anglo-Jewry who have previously been afraid to give voice to their concerns over Israeli government policy, should realise that they are in fact part of the majority.

This is against the backdrop of a Jewish community that remains fully committed to Israel and its centrality to Jewish identity.”
Date: 2010