Anti-Semitism isn't worse among people with left-wing views, study finds

Isabelle Gerretsen

Levels of anti-Semitism are no higher among left-wing voters than other segments of the British electorate, a new study has revealed.

Anti-Semitism controversies have enveloped the Labour Party in recent years. In March 2016, former London mayor Ken Livingstone claimed that Hitler "supported Zionism", and Jeremy Corbyn was criticised by Jewish leaders for failing to adequately condemn the comments.

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Livingstone was suspended from the party for two years but Simon Johnson, CEO of the Jewish Leadership Council, told Newsweek that Corbyn took an "unnecessarily weak" stance by not expelling him altogether.

He said the Labour Party scandal contributed to the 42% rise in anti-Semitic incidents last year.

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Despite the recent controversies, left-wing voters do not harbour stronger anti-Jewish feelings than centrist and right-wing voters, according to a study on anti-Semitism in Britain by the Institute for Jewish Research Policy (JRP).

"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," the report states.

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Far-right voters tend to be more anti-Semitic than those on the far-left, according to the report.

Among Muslims, anti-Semitic and anti-Israel attitudes are two to four times higher compared to the general population.

After it emerged that anti-Semitism in the UK reached a record high last year, Johnson declared that Britain was "still a great place to be Jewish" and said that anti-Jewish attitudes remained among the lowest recorded internationally.

Around 70% of the British public hold a favourable opinion of Jews and "do not entertain any anti-Semitic ideas or views at all," the JRP report found. Some 30% of the British public revealed anti-Semitic attitudes "at different intensities."

Johnson said that Jewish leaders were "very satisfied" with the measures put in place by the British government to tackle anti-Semitism.

"For the past two years the government has provided £30m ($38m) in funding for guards outside Jewish schools and synagogues. We cannot ask the government to do anything more," he said, pointing out that Jews in Britain have not been targeted in an extremist attack, unlike in other European countries.

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