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British Jews: 1/3 Consider Emigration (23/08/2017)

Nearly one third of British Jews have considered leaving the UK in the past two years, according to a new poll.

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Kosher restaurants firebombed in Manchester in June 2017 (source: Twitter)

Almost one third of British Jews have considered leaving the UK over the last two years, according to a new poll. Meanwhile reporting suggests that anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise across the country.

A poll commissioned by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA) and conducted by YouGov interviewed a total of 7,156 Jewish respondents over the course of two years.

Of those 7,156 interviews there were signs of both mistrust in the government as well as fear of neighbors, much of which appears to be the result of recent political events.

37% of respondents said they have concealed signs of their faith when in public, while only 39% feel confident that an anti-Semitic hate crime would be prosecuted by the justice system.

52% said that the Crown Prosecution Service is not doing enough to clamp down on anti-Semitic offenders.

Many observers have pointed to the Labour party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn as reason to lose faith in national politics as an effective tool to tamp down on anti-Semitism. 2016 saw a major anti-Semitism scandal unfold within Labour, with MP Naz Shah and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone at the heart of it.

The resulting Chakrabarti Inquiry, an internal investigation headed by barrister Shami Chakrabarti, who has since been made Shadow Attorney General for England and Wales, was decried by many critics of Corbyn as a lackluster response to a systemic problem.

While Corbyn saw his popularity rise in the last general election, Labour’s support from the Jewish community has been middling for years, a fact that seems unlikely to change while Labour is still being run by a man who once called Hamas his “friends” and has proven time and time again that he is not interested in learning the nuances between British Jews and Israel.

Gideon Falter, chairman of the CAA, said after seeing the poll’s findings: “Our research clearly shows that British Jews have pointed their fingers at the Crown Prosecution Service and the Labour Party.”

“If British society can fight antisemitism, why are our world-renowned criminal justice system and some of our famous political parties still doing too little? There is not a moment to lose. Without urgent change, British Jews may start to leave, as has happened elsewhere in Europe”, said Falter.

Campaign Against Antisemitism Chairman Gideon Falter speaks with police officer in August 2014 (source: Campaign Against Antisemitism/Nathan Lilienfeld)

The poll also found that only 59% of British Jews feel welcome in the UK, while 17% said they feel unwelcome.

This is likely a result of the considerable uptick in reported anti-Semitic incidents that have been recorded by the Community Security Trust (CST).

The anti-Semitism watchdog found that the first half of 2017 saw a 30% increase in anti-Semitic incidents from the same period last year to 767 attacks, which is the highest number CST has recorded since it began doing so in 1984. 2016 also say a 36% increase over the 2015 count.

However, it should be noted that the ability of the CST and other watchdogs to record such incidents, which often take form in verbal abuse, has vastly improved over the decades, which could lead to somewhat inflated percentage increases.

Growing concern over the past several years lead Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who was appointed by Theresa May in the summer of 2016, to make a £900,000 commitment to tackling anti-Semitic hate crimes.

While the number of Britons who hold “at least one anti-Semitic view” has dropped from 45% in 2015 to 36% today, it is clear that the relationship between British Jewish communities and national politics is increasingly volatile.


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