A comprehensive survey published by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) last week gives valuable insights into how British Jews see anti-Semitism.

It should be emphasised that the fieldwork for Jews in the uk today was conducted in late 2022. As a result it does not take into account the impact of Hamas pogrom on Israel last October. However, it can help provide a baseline so that future surveys can examine the impact of the assault on the attitudes of British Jews. It can also be compared to a similar survey in 2013 to gauge how attitudes have changed.

Overall 32% of adult Jews had personally experienced some kind of anti-Semitic incident in 2021. The most common form of abuse was spoken, at 14%, with 11% experiencing online abuse. Some 7% experienced anti-Semitic discrimination at work or other venue or institution. Less than 1% experienced damage to property while the level of physical attacks was at a similar low level.

Some groups within the Jewish community suffered substantially more anti-Semitism than others. In the 16-19 age group 39% experienced a verbal attack while the figure for the 20-29 age group was 32%. The figures tended to fall with each age cohort.

Students were far more likely to experience anti-Semitic attacks, at 35%, than those employed ( 17%) or retired ( 4%). From these statistics alone it is not possible to tell whether there is a particular problem with anti-Semitism in academia (which may well be the case) or simply because they tend to be relatively young.

Among the religious sub-groups the Haredi (strictly orthodox) was most likely to experience verbal anti-Semitic attacks at 39%. This was followed by the orthodox at 21%. It seems likely these groups were more prone to abuse because it is easier to visibly identity them as Jewish.

The general pattern in relation to anti-Semitic incidents is that it tends to spike when there is conflict between Israel and Hamas. Other surveys showed this happened in 2009, 2014, 2021 and 2023 both in Britain and elsewhere.

Given these overall statistics it is perhaps not surprising that anti-Semitism was widely seen as a central marker of Jewish identity. Some 76% of Jews ranked remembering the Holocaust as very important to their identity with 64% similarly ranking combating anti-Semitism. The importance attached to these was significantly higher than in the 2013 survey with corresponding figures of 60% and 54% respectively.

The survey covered many other aspects of Jewish opinion including in relation to attitudes to Israel, demography, Jewish education and religious practice. However, because the focus of the Radicalism of fools is on anti-Semitism I will not go into the other themes here.

It is important to emphasise that this is a carefully constructed survey. It was based on an analytical sample of 4,891 self-identifed Jews on the JPR research panel. The final results were weighted to be representative by age, sex, denomination and region.

The aftermath of the 7 October Hamas pogrom in Israel has made the rethinking of anti-Semitism a more urgent task than ever. Both the extent and character of anti-Semitism is changing. Tragically the open expression of anti-Semitic views is once again becoming respectable. It has also become clearer than ever that anti-Semitism is no longer largely confined to the far right. Woke anti-Semitism and Islamism have also become significant forces.

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