Anti-Semitism in England is among the worst in Europe due to changing attitudes in the Muslim community and mainstream acceptance of these views, reports the Israeli journal Azure (Summer).
According to a report from the Community Security Trust, which tracks anti-Semitic incidents, 2004 was the worst year of such hate crimes since the group began keeping statistics in 1996. The group recorded 532 serious anti-Semitic incidents in Britain in 2004– more than twice the number recorded in 1996, and a rise of over 40 percent from the previous year. “Great Britain today is second only to France in serious anti-Semitic incidents reported among European countries– with Russia a distant third,” writes Robert S. Wistrich
As London has become a center of radical Islam to a greater extent than other European cities, anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist sentiment has likewise expanded. Radical Islam’s “highly inflammable cocktail embracing Palestine, jihad, the dream of a worldwide caliphate… and classical Judeophobia” has found some affinity with the far left and its anti-Israel agenda. Yet unlike many other European countries, anti-Semitic sentiment has also found its way into mainstream discourse in Great Britain.
Wistrich writes that the popular boycott-Israel movement and anti-Zionist protests have sometimes shaded over into attacks against British Jewry (i.e., comparing Israel to Nazi Germany). All of this is accompanied by a general deterioration in British attitudes toward the Jews. Whereas in the 1990s, negative attitudes were greater toward Gypsies and Pakistanis than toward Jews, that pattern is changing.
In 2005, a Jewish Chronicle poll finds that between 15 and 20 percent of Britons might be defined as anti-Semitic as defined by such typical measures as refusing to vote for a Jewish politician.
(Azure, 5505 Connecticut Ave., NW, No. 1140, Washington, DC 20015)