OPINION: ‘Campaign Against Antisemitism is the freedom litmus test’

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OPINION: ‘Campaign Against Antisemitism is the freedom litmus test’

The summer rally against anti-Semitism, organised by the campaign against anti-Semitism
The summer rally against anti-Semitism, organised by the campaign against anti-Semitism

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 10.54.50By Gideon Falter 

Campaign Against Antisemitism is still only a few months old. Our organisation was born during the summer of 2014 when antisemitic incidents reached their record-breaking peak. We held the grassroots rally outside the Royal Courts of Justice that put zero tolerance law enforcement against antisemitism on the agenda. Since then I have been meeting at senior level with government departments. Last week I had a private meeting with the Home Secretary, Director of Public Prosecutions and the Chief Executive of the College of Policing the police and CPS to deliver on our zero  tolerance platform. The government is behind us.

We commissioned these surveys because we know that the problem is serious, but it is hard to prove to the many who claim “it’s not that bad”. Antisemitic incidents always peak when there is fighting in Israel and tail off once it is over.

Our figures came as a shock. Polling took place when there was no fighting in Israel, yet 45% of British Jews fear they have no long-term future here, a quarter have considered leaving and over half see echoes of the 1930s. Meanwhile, 45% of people hold at least one antisemitic view and 25%hold at least two. Our polling of the British population by YouGov used twice the required sample size and our polling of the Jewish population sampled almost 1% of the Jews in Britain.

Are almost half of our countrymen antisemites? No, they probably haven’t even met Jews and have learned prejudice they might not even realise is antisemitic. Will 25% of Jews leave next year? No, but clearly our community is afraid. Our figures show that we are at a tipping point. It is time to stop saying “it’s not that bad” and address the issue.

Almost 70% of Jews feel that the community has to provide security because the state does not provide enough. In three separate questions 80% linked antisemitism with anti-Israel activity and media bias. These figures will now feed into our discussions with the government.

We have an action plan which we are pursuing with the government. We are speaking the truth to those in power and finding partners keen to work with us. Antisemitism in Britain is not a Jewish problem, it’s a British problem. Jews are the litmus test of freedom – our fate is the fate of society. If you agree, join us at www.antisemitism.uk.

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