Report reveals link between anti-Zionism and antisemitism
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Report reveals link between anti-Zionism and antisemitism

New study by JPR and CST reveals that young adults are twice as likely to support BDS than their grandparents

Anti-Israel protester makes his views known in central London  (Photo by Alex Cavendish/NurPhoto/Sipa USA)
Anti-Israel protester makes his views known in central London (Photo by Alex Cavendish/NurPhoto/Sipa USA)

Young adults are twice as likely to support boycotts of Israeli goods than their grandparents, a new report has shown, but their grandparents are three times more likely think Israel is an apartheid state.

Analysis by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) and the Community Security Trust (CST), published today, uses data taken from a survey of 5,400 Britons in 2016-17.

It also builds on a previous report from 2017 showing a correlation between people who hold anti-Jewish attitudes and those who criticise Israel, with those who hold five antisemitic views three times more likely to consider Israel an apartheid state than those who hold none.

Researchers dug back in to look at age, gender, religion, education and ethnicity, allowing policy planners to build a clearer picture of those with anti-Israel attitudes, and the co-author of this week’s report, Dr Jonathan Boyd, said a link between them and antisemites had now been statistically shown.

“People who hold traditional anti-Jewish views – such as those relating to money, divided loyalties or nefarious uses of power – are more likely than those who do not hold such views to also endorse these two ideas about Israel,” he said.

“The correlation is notably smoother and stronger with the boycott contention than the apartheid one, but it can be clearly discerned in both.”

While Britons are overwhelmingly more likely to disagree with boycotts than they are to agree with them, 12 percent of young adults were in favour, compared to just six percent of the oldest age group.

Ethnicity data showed twice as many Arab respondents (52 percent) felt Israel was an apartheid state, compared to less than a quarter of all White British (24 percent). Arab respondents were more than four times as likely to support a boycott.

Examining hostility to Israel in relation to antisemitic attitudes, analysts recognised that attitudes may have changed since the survey was conducted by IpsosMORI at the end of 2016 and early 2017.

The authors said that while gender differences were negligible, “attitudes to the apartheid and boycott contentions are strongly associated with a person’s UK political orientation,” with Scottish and Welsh nationalists far more likely to consider Israel an apartheid state than their political kin.

A heady 37 percent of Plaid Cymru and SNP supporters were of that opinion, as were 31 percent of Green Party supporters, 30 percent of Lib Dem supporters, 27 percent of Labour supporters and 26 percent of UKIP supporters.

…attitudes to the apartheid and boycott contentions are strongly associated with a person’s UK political orientation

The debate about antisemitism in the Labour Party over the past three years has led to accusations by Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters that Jewish supporters of Israel have sought to paint those who criticise Israel as antisemitic, but Boyd said these were legitimate concerns.

“Not everyone endorsing these ideas is necessarily an antisemite, indeed the data also indicate that some people who hold these views about Israel exhibit no particular hostility towards Jews at all,” he said.

“But it does indicate that Jewish people, the majority of whom are broadly supportive of Israel, are right to be cautious here. Recently-published data from the EU demonstrate that most Jews experience these claims as antisemitic, and this analysis indicates that they are often right to make that call.”

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