First the good news: In each of the last two years, anti-Semitism has dropped among British adults from the previous year according to a poll published by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA). But the bad news is that 32%—nearly one-third—of Jews polled in 2107 said they considered leaving the United Kingdom in the last two years due to anti-Semitism. The CAA highlighted safety as well as failures by the British government and justice system as key concerns for Jews in the country.
“Overall, rising anti-Semitic crime, the failure of the authorities to take firm action against anti-Semites, and anti-Semitism in politics, have had a severe detrimental effect on British Jews’ sense of security,” said the CAA’s Anti-Semitism Barometer 2017 report. “…Since 2014, anti-Semitic hate crime has risen by 45%, with each year seeing record-breaking levels, but enforcement has remained lackluster.”
Just 21% of the Jews polled believed that the authorities were appropriately addressing anti-Semitism. And it’s getting worse.
The number of Jews who believed that authorities were not doing enough had risen from 58% in 2016 to 64% this year. Less than 4 out of 10 Jews polled in 2017 believed that anti-Semitic hate crime against them, with sufficient evidence, would be prosecuted. That represented a seven percent drop from the feelings on that issue in 2016.
The CAA isn’t the only group sounding the alarm. Community Service Trust, which tracks anti-Semitic incidents in the U.K., reported in their report for the first half of 2017 that 767 anti-Semitic incidents had occurred in the country from January-June—which was the highest total CST had ever recorded for the first half of a year. It was a 30% increase over June-January 2016.
Aside from the justice system, political parties are similarly failing in the perception of their efforts to handle anti-Semitism, according to the CAA. In both 2016 and 2017, fewer than 5% of Jews polled said that none of the British political parties were too tolerant of anti-Semitism among their Members of Parliament, party members, and supporters. The Labour party, the U.K. Independence Party and the Green Party were considered the worst offenders.
Another concern for Jews in Britain is the discourse about Israel. The CAA poll showed that roughly four out of every five Jews asked said they had witnessed anti-Semitism “disguised as a political comment about Israel or Zionism.” A similar number of Jews said anti-Israel media bias “fuels persecution of Jews in Britain.”
The CAA had suggestions for dealing with the concerns about anti-Semitism in the U.K., including training, improving the method of reporting anti-Semitic hate crime, better transparency in anti-Semitic hate crime records, and effective political discipline for anti-Semitism.
“It is high time for our criminal justice system and politicians to take the comparatively easy steps recommended in this report,” CAA Chairman Gideon Falter in the report. “There is not a moment to lose. Without urgent change, British Jews may start to leave.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, August 20, 2017)