The widespread anti-Israelism in the UK
The widespread anti-Israelism in the UK

Various studies have shown how widespread the dislike of Israel and anti-Israelism are in a number of European countries. The University of Bielefeld, for instance, published a widely publicized report of seven EU countries in 2011.

One of the questions in this report asked those polled whether they agreed with the assertion that Israel is carrying out a war of extermination against the Palestinians. The lowest percentages of those who agreed were in Italy and the Netherlands, with 38% and 39% respectively. The others were Hungary 41%, United Kingdom 42%, Germany 48%, and Portugal 49%. In Poland the figure was 63%.  

More detailed data on the specific prejudices against Israel are occasionally obtained. This is the case in a recent report from the United Kingdom by L. Daniel Staetsky titled, “Antisemitism in Contemporary Great Britain, a Study of Attitudes toward Jews and Israel.” The study was published by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) and the Community Security Trust (CST).  

Twelve specific statements about Israel were submitted to those who were interviewed. The first asked whether Israel has the right to exist. 62% affirmed Israel’s right to exist and 6% denied it. The remainder of the interviewees refused to answer or had no opinion. This outcome seems very positive at first glance. Yet it means that there are three million hard core anti-Semites in the U.K. who are in favor of the destruction of Israel. This can only be realized by murderous violence.

Another extreme finding of the report was the answer to the statement “Israel is committing mass murder in Palestine.” 24% agreed with the statement and 22% disagreed. This affirmation is however not about an opinion but about facts. Israel is not conducting mass murder in “Palestine.” Those who agree – representing twelve million U.K citizens -- are either extremely misled people or liars. Their agreement to this statement is an indicator of how far the demonization of Israel in the United Kingdom has advanced.

Interviewees were also asked whether they agreed with a somewhat similar false statement: “Israel is deliberately trying to wipe out the Palestinian population.” In this case, 23% agreed and 26% disagreed.

The huge numbers of those who agree with the last two statements cannot only be explained by the number of Muslims (4.5%), extreme leftists (3.6%) and extreme rightists (1.4%) in British society. Many of them must belong to the British mainstream.

Regarding the statement “Israel is an apartheid state,” 14% agreed and 19% disagreed.” To another question “Israel has too much control over global affairs,” 17% agreed and 30% disagreed. More than eight million British citizens thus agreed with the “Zionist variant” of the classic anti-Semitic claim that Jews control the world.

Ten percent agreed with the statement “Israel is the cause of all the troubles in the Middle East,” while 44% disagreed. Nine percent of those interviewed were in favor of boycotting Israel. This opinion apparently has also some support in the British mainstream.

Other statements submitted to those polled were: The state of Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people; The state of Israel makes a positive contribution to global society; The interests of Israelis are at odds with the interests of the rest of the world and Israel is the only real democracy in the Middle East. In the general population the percentage of those holding some anti-Israeli prejudice is substantially higher than those holding some anti-Semitic prejudice.  

Analysis of the answers to the 12 statements of the survey among Christians show that their opinions do not statistically differ from those of the general population. The findings concerning Muslims are however very different. While 9% of the general population agree with between six and nine anti-Israel attitudes, among Muslims the figure is 34.7%.  75% of Muslims hold at least one anti-Israeli attitude, as opposed to 47% of the general population.

The study also analyzes whether there is a significant difference between religious and non-religious Muslims. Indeed, a somewhat higher percentage of Muslims who pray five times a day are hard-core “third generation anti-Semites” who agree with between six and nine of the anti-Israeli attitudes than the percentage of those Muslims who never pray.

As far as prejudices go, i.e., those with at least one anti-Israeli attitude, the difference between Muslims who pray five times a day and those who never pray – “heritage Muslims”-- is not very significant. Often, when a Muslim commits a crime somewhere in Europe against Jews, the media mentions that he isn’t religious. This study seems to indicate that there is not such great a difference as far as prejudice against Israel is concerned between the very religious Muslims and those who are not religious at all.

A disproportional part of the anti-Israel and antisemitic remarks by representatives of the Labour party are made by Muslims. Several of the latter represent areas with large concentrations of Muslims. The above findings explain why anti-Israel incitement can be assured of a welcome reception in their constituencies. The U.K. has not screened immigrants for their anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli prejudices. This despite the fact that it is well known how widespread hatred of Jews and Israel is in many of their Muslim countries of origin. The U.K. has thus become willingly a major importer of anti-Semites and Israel haters.

The U.K. has become willingly a major importer of anti-Semites and Israel haters.
The U.K government would do well to have a detailed study undertaken about the sources in British society which have caused the demonic view of Israel among so many citizens. This is not only an Israel problem but also a British one.

Large numbers of demonizers of others in a country is a sign of its partial cultural degeneration. The areas of society to be investigated include Muslims, the far left, the far right, media, politicians, academia, trade unions, NGOs and some church denominations.   

There is also an Israeli angle to all this. The Palestinians and their many Muslim allies have for decades spread extreme hatred against Israel as well as lies about it. The Israeli government has largely ignored this and has not put in place a counterpropaganda agency. Nor has it stressed that the promotion of anti-Semitic hate, including violence, is widespread in the world of Islam and that the great majority of Palestinians who support Hamas and Fatah are an integral part of various extremist Muslim currents.

As a supervisory institution of the government, the Knesset has equally failed to induce successive governments to counter these developments.