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Monday, January 26, 2004

Antisemitism in Great Britain

2003: 47% of violent antisemitic acts in France, but UK not far behind with 29%
Arutz Sheva: A survey showing increasing anti-Jewish sentiment in Great Britain is causing great concern among Jewish-British circles and in Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum. The survey, published on January 23 by The Jewish Chronicle, indicates that 18% of Britons harbor anti-Semitic attitudes, that only 37% believe Jews have made a positive contribution to British society, and that 47% do not fully agree that a Jewish prime minister would be as acceptable as a non-Jewish one. The poll further found that 15-24% (in various age groups) believe Jews have too much influence, and that fully one in seven Britons believe the scale of the Holocaust has been exaggerated.

Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem, said that the results demonstrate the connection between the resurgence of anti-Semitism and insufficient knowledge of the Holocaust. "We clearly see that the current wave of Jew-hatred is based mainly on twisting of the facts regarding the Holocaust, as well as trivialization of it," he said, noting that the survey shows "that in order to battle anti-Semitism, Holocaust education must be augmented."

British Home Secretary David Blunkett expressed "deep concern" at the findings of the poll, as did Chronicle editor Ned Temko.

The Forum for the Coordination of the Struggle Against Anti-Semitism reports that 47% of all anti-Semitic violent acts in the year 2003 took place in France - compared with 34% the year before. Another 29% of last year's anti-Semitic incidents were registered in Great Britain. Jewish Agency Chairman Salai Meridor said that France's efforts to combat anti-Semitism are "too little, too late." The lack of timely action "is a disgrace, and that which was done was also not enough," Meridor said.