More than half of British Jewish people fear Jews have no future in the UK, according to a new study which also reveals that antisemitic sentiments are more prevalent than widely believed.
British society is at a “tipping point” with Jewish families increasingly questioning whether to stay in the country, campaigners claim today.
The warning is bolstered by a new YouGov poll showing that 45 per cent of Britons agreed with at least one of four antisemitic statements put to them. Some 25 per cent agreed with the idea that “Jews chase money more than other British people” while one in five accepted as true that “Jews’ loyalty to Israel makes them less loyal to Britain than other British people”.
A further 13 per cent said of those surveyed in the poll commissioned by the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) agreed that “Jews talk about the Holocaust too much in order to get sympathy”.
The study coincides with a general rise in antisemitic attacks last year - from cemetery desecration and violence to the display of offensive posters - and increased anxiety caused by the murder of four people by gunman Amedy Coulibaly in a kosher grocery store in the French capital on Friday.
Police and community groups are stepping up security at Jewish locations across the Britain in response to the Paris terror attacks,
The Community Security Trust (CST), the organisation which monitors anti-Jewish hate crime as well as helping to secure buildings and places of worship, said it had increased activity in cooperation with police to guard Jewish sites and location in response to the Paris attack.
Dave Rich, the CST’s deputy director of communications, said: “People are worried. They have seen what has happened in Paris as an indication of how things could potentially get here if the situation gets worse.
“Things are not the same in Britain as they are in France - there is not the same level of hostility or day-to-day antisemitism. But there is an element of fear that it could happen here and we must do our utmost to unite and stand against it.”
The CST last year recorded a 36 per cent rise in antisemitic attacks in the first six months of 2014, prior to the Israeli assault on Gaza which caused more than 1,000 Palestinian civilian deaths. In July, the month when Operation Protective Edge was at its height, London saw the highest-ever level of hate crime, of which more than nine tenths was aimed at Jews.
The Independent understands that annual figures due to be published next month will show that the upward trend in attacks has continued through the second half of 2014 and could set a new record high.
It comes amid evidence that anti-Jewish sentiments are commonly held in British society and insecurity is widely felt among Britain’s 269,000 Jews.
A survey by the CAA of more than 2,200 British Jews - close to one per cent of the population - found that more than half of British Jews feel they have witness more antisemitism in the past two years than they have witness before.
The CAA research also shows that a quarter of British Jews have considered leaving the country. An overall majority - 54 per cent - of British Jewish people questioned for the survey said they fear Jews have no future in the United Kingdom. A further 45 per cent of Jews said they felt their family was threatened by Islamist extremism.
Gideon Falter, chairman of the CAA, which was established this summer, said: “These results are shocking wake up call straight after the atrocities in Paris. Britain is at a tipping point: unless antisemitism is met with zero tolerance, it will grow and British Jews will increasingly question their place in their own country. Britain’s Jews must be shown that they are not alone.”
The study comes as campaigners today warn that despite disarray in the far right, antisemitism remains a strong in many extremist groups. The Labour MP Luciana Berger was last year the subject of death threats and an antisemitic Twitter hate campaign sparked by a neo-Nazi group.
A separate survey by the CAA of more than 2,200 British Jews - close to one per cent of the population - found that more than half of British Jews feel they have witness more antisemitism in the past two years than they have witness before.
Jonathan Sacerdoti, spokesman for the CAA, said: “British values of tolerance and pluralism must be upheld, so that minority groups like Jews feel comfortable and protected.”