British Muslims twice as likely to espouse anti-Semitic views, survey suggests

(JTA) – In a survey of 5,466 British adults, the prevalence of anti-Semitic views among Muslim respondents was two to four times higher than in any other segment of the population.

The results are part of a report titled “Anti-Semitism in contemporary Great Britain” that the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research published Monday based on face-to-face interviews and online questioners conducted earlier this year and in 2016 with help from the Community Security Trust, or CST.

“The prevalence of negativity towards Jews and Israel is, on average, twice as high among Muslims than the general population,” states the 85-page report, which includes data from interviews with 995 self-identified Muslims of varying degrees of observance, as well as 529 respondents from the far left and 355 from the far right.

Whereas nearly 80 per cent of Christian respondents agreed with the statement that “a British Jew is just as British as any other British person,” only 61 per cent of Muslims and 59 per cent of the Muslims who described themselves as religious concurred.

Among Muslims, 28 per cent agreed with the assertion that “Jews think they are better than other people,” compared to 13 per cent in the general population. Among Muslims, 14 per cent said the Holocaust was exaggerated compared to 4 per cent in the general population and 8 per cent said the Holocaust is a myth compared to only 1 per cent in the larger group.

Overall, however, about 70 per cent of the respondents indicated that they have a favourable opinion of Jews and do not entertain any anti-Semitic ideas or views at all, according to the survey, the authors of a report about its conclusions wrote.

The survey also revealed a strong correlation between the prevalence of anti-Semitic opinions and opinions hostile to Israel: Of those who do not hold any attitudes hostile to the Jewish state, 86 per cent do not hold any anti-Semitic attitudes either. But among those holding a large number of anti-Israel attitudes, only 26 per cent do not hold any anti-Semitic attitudes.

Asked about Israel, half of respondents said they were either neutral or had nothing to say, and 17 per cent reported having favourable views about the country. A third of respondents said they had unfavourable attitudes toward Israel.

Israel emerged in the poll as more popular than Russia (52 per cent unfavourable), Iran and Syria, but less than the United States (21 per cent unfavourable views) and Germany (10 per cent.)

The report’s author, Daniel Staetsky of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, said the report’s “strength of analysis owes a great deal to the size of the data set and the detail that it provides, but also, importantly, to our determination to let realistic and very specific concerns about anti-Semitism, held by Jews and non-Jews, inform the line of inquiry.”

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