Poll finds ‘frightening’ rates of antisemitism among young British public

Over half of 18- to 24-year-olds believe Israel treating Palestinians the way Nazis treated Jews and 1 in 10 believe Jewish people less loyal to nation than other Britons

File: Protesters hold placards during a demonstration to protest against antisemitism, in central London on November 26, 2023. (JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)
File: Protesters hold placards during a demonstration to protest against antisemitism, in central London on November 26, 2023. (JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

Young people in Britain are more likely to believe a variety of antisemitic tropes about Jews and Israel, including doubts about the trustworthiness of Jewish people, viewing Israel as behaving like Nazis toward the Palestinians and exploiting the Holocaust for political gain, according to a survey published Wednesday.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism watchdog said in a statement that the results of its poll “revealed worrying levels of anti-Jewish prejudice among the British public, with particularly frightening rates among young people aged between 18 and 24.”

Among the results was that around one-third of the public believes Israel treats the Palestinians like the Nazis treated the Jews, including over half of 18- to 24-year-olds surveyed.

Coming on the eve of International Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27, the polling raises serious questions about whether lessons about the antisemitism that motivated the Nazis have been internalized by British young adults.

The survey also found that almost one-tenth of the same age group believe Jewish people are not as loyal to the country as other Britons, compared to one in 20 people who hold this view among the general population.

Additionally, one-fifth of those surveyed believe that “Israel can get away with anything because its supporters control the media,” including over a quarter of 18- to 24-year-olds.

Pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel activists and supporters wave flags and carry placards during a National March for Palestine in central London on January 13, 2024. (HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP)

Fourteen percent of 18- to 24-year-olds think Israel does not have a right to defend itself against those who seek to eliminate it — double the figure found in the general population.

Over one in ten young Britons don’t believe Israel has a right to exist as the Jewish homeland and think that Jewish people talk about the Holocaust to advance a political agenda.

The survey also found that 46% of British adults believe in at least one antisemitic statement.

Over a tenth of Britons believe that Jewish people seek money more than others in society, according to the poll, and that Jews have too much power in media, relative to other groups.

A spokesperson from the group said in a statement that the poll demonstrates how ongoing rhetoric in the media and on the streets is “radicalizing the British public.”

“But it is the rates of antisemitism that we have discovered among 18- to 24-year-olds that are most frightening. This is generation hate,” the spokesperson said.

“On the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, our country needs an urgent rethink about how we teach about antisemitism. If young people cannot see the relationship between the genocidal antisemitism of the Nazis and the genocidal antisemitism of Hamas, and, worse still, refuse to talk about how our attitudes towards Israel and its supporters are influenced by antisemitic prejudice, then we are clearly not talking about antisemitism properly,” the statement read.

“Our education is failing the next generation, and our society is suffering as a result. It is British Jews who are paying the price,” the representative added.

People march against antisemitism, in central London on November 26, 2023. (HZ / Times of Israel)

The survey was designed and analyzed by experts at King’s College London for CAA, and carried out on YouGov, with a sample size of 2,084 adults.

Antisemitism has skyrocketed in the UK following the Hamas terror group’s October 7 massacre, when terrorists massacred some 1,200 people, mostly civilians in southern communities, and kidnapped 253 to Gaza.

In the UK, there were more than 1,500 antisemitic incidents reported between October 7 and December 7, the highest ever total reported to the Jewish community security organization CST across such a period. Weekly rallies in London calling for a ceasefire in Gaza have come under scrutiny for antisemitic chants and posters by some participants.

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