Since the Labour Party’s defeat in the 2019 General Election under the leadership of the antisemite Jeremy Corbyn, some of his most ardent supporters have sought to find a scapegoat. An idea has developed – similar to the historic “stab-in-the-back” myth – that it was the Jewish community and its supposedly false allegations of antisemitism that fatally undermined the Labour Party’s electoral ambitions. This idea has become known as “#ItWasAScam”.

The theory behind this idea is that allegations of antisemitism in Labour were a fraud, and represented an effort to smear Mr Corbyn, his supporters and the Labour Party under his leadership.

The notion that claims of antisemitism are disingenuous is the foundation of the “Livingstone Formulation”. Named after the controversial former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, the Livingstone Formulation is used to describe how allegations of antisemitism are dismissed as insincere and malevolent. Often, such allegations are portrayed as baseless attempts to silence criticism of Israel. In its report on antisemitism in the Labour Party, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found that suggestions of this nature were part of the unlawful victimisation of Jewish people in the Party.

Although #ItWasAScam has not been the only attempt to undermine the finding that the Labour Party had become institutionally racist against Jewish people, it has proved the most popular and enduring. It has trended repeatedly on X/Twitter in the years since 2019, and has often been referred to whenever the Labour Party has attempted to address antisemitism on the far-left of the Party.

As with most political myths, #ItWasAScam thrives on vagueness, capturing a feeling of injustice on the part of Mr Corbyn’s most blindly loyal supporters but rarely being elucidated with actual facts and argumentation. The principal exception to this trend is a document authored by the writer and activist Simon Maginn, who is believed to have coined and popularised the #ItWasAScam hashtag.

Given the popularity of this myth, and the distress that it has caused Jewish victims of Labour antisemitism, users of social media and the wider Jewish community, Mr Maginn’s (since deleted) document – originally posted on 11th April 2021 and later, in 2023, accompanied by a graphic tweet and series of videos – merits authoritative refutation. The document is titled “Top Ten Labour Antisemitism Smears”.

Before examining the ten items, it must be borne in mind that these are only ten instances in the scandal of Labour antisemitism, which was an unprecedented development in British politics that proceeded for several years in the national spotlight and which is still in the process of remediation. Some of these ten instances, selected by Mr Maginn, received considerable media attention when they arose; others did not. Why these ten have been chosen, as opposed to the countless other allegations of antisemitism in the Party, interviews with leading Labour officials or other instances that might have been included in the document, is not known. The failure even to address the fact that these are only a sample of such instances itself exposes the document to charges of strawmanning, in which Mr Maginn has addressed only those instances that were convenient for his purposes, rather than those that were not. Even so, his analysis of each of the ten chosen instances is deficient or inaccurate and invariably misleading.

Let’s see how.

10: Chris Williamson.

Claim: Mr Williamson, then an MP, said Labour had been ‘too apologetic for antisemitism’.

BBC’s Nick Robinson tweeted it. It’s still up today.

In fact, what Mr Williamson said was this:

“The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion…we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic…We’ve done more to address the scourge of antisemitism than any other party.”

Oddly, the last part of Mr Williamson’s statement, where he talks about ‘addressing the scourge of antisemitism’, doesn’t get quoted. This is called ‘clipping’ — extracting words from a longer speech in order to misrepresent it.

Transcript here: https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/article/in-defence-of-chris-williamson/

Verdict: False

Analysis

Chris Williamson is a disgraced one-term Labour MP who was suspended from the Party before eventually resigning his membership and running as an Independent in the 2019 General Election. He received so few votes that, extraordinarily for an incumbent MP, he lost his deposit. Research by Campaign Against Antisemitism shows that Mr Williamson has been involved in numerous antisemitic incidents, and since his ejection from frontline politics, Mr Williamson can be found presenting a programme on the Iranian state propaganda channel, Press TV. He has also become the Deputy Leader of George Galloway’s Workers Party of Britain.

Mr Williamson’s comments quoted here were made at an event in Sheffield organised by the pro-Corbyn pressure group, Momentum, in February 2019.

With regard to the substance of the comments, Labour’s history as an avowedly anti-racist party was no defence of its descent into institutional racism under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Indeed, that very history made this development so distressing for those Jews and opponents of racism who had made the Labour Party their political home. Mr Williamson nevertheless contended that, in response to this scandal of antisemitism, the Party had been too defensive. In twisted logic, he argued that Labour had done more to address the scourge of antisemitism, seemingly without acknowledging that it was also by far the most antisemitic party, an assessment confirmed by both the Home Affairs Committee in 2016 and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in 2020. Both the Home Affairs Committee and the EHRC found that the Labour Party had in fact not been too apologetic for antisemitism but, on the contrary, had failed to identify and deal with antisemitism within the Party appropriately, despite numerous recommendations to improve its procedures.

In any event, this is all background to Mr Maginn’s obscure focus on a tweet by the BBC presenter Nick Robinson. Whether or not one tweet by one journalist half a year after they were made accurately represented the thrust of Mr Williamson’s remarks is immaterial. Mr Williamson’s remarks are available to watch, they were reported across the national media at the time that they were made, and they rapidly led to his suspension from the Labour Party.

Verdict: Not “false”.

9: Jackie Walker.

Claim: Ms Walker said ‘Jews controlled the slave trade’. Again, the BBC’s old reliable Nick Robinson said exactly this in a now-deleted tweet.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/contact/ecu/tweet-by-nick-robinson-26-february-2019

In fact, what Ms Walker said was this: “Oh yes — and I hope you feel the same towards the African holocaust? My ancestors were involved in both — on all sides as I’m sure you know, millions more Africans were killed in the African holocaust and their oppression continues today on a global scale in a way it doesn’t for Jews… and many Jews (my ancestors too) were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade which is of course why there were so many early synagogues in the Caribbean. So who are victims and what does it mean? We are victims and perpetrators to some extent through choice. And having been a victim does not give you a right to be a perpetrator”.

BBC finally retracted Mr Robinson’s accusation, describing it as ‘insufficiently accurate’, and Mr Robinson was required to delete his tweet, though in so doing, regrettably, made the further smear against Mr Williamson above.

He’s prolific.

Verdict: False

Analysis

Jackie Walker is a former Vice-Chair of Momentum whose case exemplified the institutionalisation of antisemitism in the Labour Party. She was initially suspended by Labour for repeating the Louis Farrakhan-inspired hoax that Jews were the “chief financiers of the slave trade”. That suspension was lifted in secrecy and without public explanation, with that mysterious exoneration being swiftly celebrated with a public embrace from the Party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn. She went on to be suspended a second time for comments misrepresenting the inclusivity of Holocaust Memorial Day and for challenging the need for security at Jewish schools. After being suspended for over two and a half years, she was finally expelled in early 2019. 

She has persistently claimed that complaints of antisemitism are part of a plot to destabilise Mr Corbyn’s leadership and has rejected the International Definition of Antisemitism. While contentiously claiming to be Jewish herself, she nevertheless alleged that Jews claim privileges at the expense of black people, at one point reportedly referring to Jewish Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge as “someone from the white millionaire elite” whom she accused of “black Jew baiting”.

She created a bizarre “Lynching” show, in which she claimed to be the victim of a “witch-hunt”, and toured it around the country – to applause, incidentally, from Chris Williamson. Meanwhile, leaders of the Party such as John McDonnell MP, then the Shadow Chancellor, have defended her. She was Chair of the antisemitism-denial group, Labour Against the Witchhunt, which was eventually proscribed by the Party.

Mr Maginn has again chosen to focus on a tweet by Nick Robinson, perhaps because the BBC’s admission that the tweet lacked sufficient context might mislead a reader of his document into thinking that portrayals of Ms Walker as an antisemite are without foundation. But the BBC’s assessment of Mr Robinson’s tweet does not in any way detract from Ms Walker’s record.

Ms Walker’s leading position in grassroots Labour groups, the Party’s reversal of her suspension and failure to expel her for several years, and her enduring popularity and influence among the far-left grassroots of the Party and even among some MPs on the far-left wing of the Party, all underscore her exemplification of Labour’s antisemitism scandal.

Verdict: Not “false”.

8: Irony.

Claim: Jeremy Corbyn said ‘Jews [or sometimes Zionists] don’t understand English irony.’

In fact what he said was this.

‘…the other evening we had a meeting in Parliament in which Manuel [the Palestinian Ambassador Manuel Hassassian] made an incredibly powerful and passionate and effective speech about the history of Palestine, the rights of the Palestinian people. This was dutifully recorded by the, thankfully silent, Zionists who were in the audience on that occasion [my emphasis]; and then came up and berated him afterwards for what he had said.

They clearly have two problems. One is they don’t want to study history and, secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either. Manuel does understand English irony and uses it very very effectively. So I think they needed two lessons which we can perhaps help them with.’

You will note the (habitually) careful language: ‘the Zionists who were in the audience on that occasion.’ Unless you were one of the named self-identifying Zionist protesters who had disrupted the meeting in question, Mr Corbyn’s remarks about irony obviously do not apply to you. Indeed, one of the protesters, Richard Millett, is currently suing Mr Corbyn for libel — his entire case is that he is identifiable as one of the people Corbyn called ‘disruptive’ at the meeting. So unless you’re him, this isn’t about you. Or ‘Jews’. Or ‘Zionists’.

Transcript here: https://labourbriefing.org/blog/2018/8/29/full-texxt-of-that-speech-by-jeremy-on-zionists-and-a-sense-of-irony

Verdict: False.

Analysis

As research by Campaign Against Antisemitism has shown,Jeremy Corbyn has a long record of antisemitic incidents and associations with those who promote antisemitic conspiracy theories or intend harm to Jewish people. This background was increasingly known to the wider public when the historic comments quoted by Mr Maginn surfaced in the summer of 2018, which was also a time when the Labour Party was resisting adopting the International Definition of Antisemitism.

Mr Corbyn originally made the quoted remarks in a speech to a conference at the House of Commons in 2013, while he was still a backbench MP. Mr Maginn’s claim is that Mr Corbyn’s reference to “Zionists” was specific to certain individuals in the audience and was not a wider reference to British Jews more generally. The reason that it may plausibly be construed as having this wider meaning is because the term “Zionists” is often used as a dog whistle by antisemites to refer to Jews. Indeed, even Mr Corbyn recognises this, saying in his defence when these remarks came to light in 2018 that “I am now more careful with how I might use the term ‘Zionist’ because a once self-identifying political term has been increasingly hijacked by antisemites as code for Jews.”

Mr Maginn claims that it is clear that Mr Corbyn was referring to specific audience members because one of them went on to sue Mr Corbyn for libel, which would indicate that that claimant must have been identifiable as the person to whom Mr Corbyn was referring. Mr Maginn is incorrect; that claimant was suing Mr Corbyn for libel in relation to comments that Mr Corbyn made on The Andrew Marr Show in September 2018, not based on Mr Corbyn’s remarks in 2013.

Mr Corbyn’s remarks were widely viewed in the Jewish community as referring to British Jews in general, accusing them of not being fully British because they did not understand English language and humour. The remarks were therefore reasonably interpreted as being scandalously racist and antisemitic. But this is equally true if the remarks were directed simply at people who identify as Zionists, and even if the comments were directed solely at the specific audience members. This is because the comments are “othering” and represent a xenophobic manner of addressing people. The comments imply that, despite living in the UK all of their lives, the people in question (be they Jews, “Zionists” or the specific audience members) were still somehow not fully English. The implication was that this foreignness was connected to their Zionist views or identity, which also happens to be an identity shared by the overwhelming majority of Jewish people. Given that centuries of antisemitic persecution have been built on the premise that Jewish people are different from the rest of the population and have different or dual loyalties, with their principal allegiance being to the Jewish people – or the Jewish state – rather than their countries of citizenship, it is understandable that Jewish people are very sensitive to any suggestion that they are not fully English.

If there was any ambiguity in the remarks, as Mr Maginn suggests, in view of Mr Corbyn’s long history of antisemitic incidents and associations the presumption was against him. Indeed, after making the remarks quoted here, Mr Corbyn was immediately followed onstage by the disgraced Rev. Dr Stephen Sizer, whom Mr Corbyn has defended despite Rev. Dr Sizer’s infamy for having promoted antisemitic conspiracy theories. Rev. Dr Sizer was eventually handed a twelve-year ban by the Church of England after having been found to have “engaged in antisemitic activity” by a tribunal of the Church of England.

Mr Corbyn’s failure even to apologise for the possibility of an interpretation contrary to whatever it was that he claimed to have meant in these 2013 remarks was further evidence that he had little sympathy for those who maintained that they had been victimised by his statement.

Following this incident, the former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks made his first intervention on Labour’s antisemitism crisis. Lord Sacks said that the comments were “the most offensive statement made by a senior British politician since Enoch Powell’s 1968 ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech. It was divisive, hateful and like Powell’s speech it undermines the existence of an entire group of British citizens by depicting them as essentially alien.” He described Mr Corbyn as “an antisemite”.

Verdict: Not “false”.

7: The Wreath.

Claim: Jeremy Corbyn laid a wreath at the cemetery in Tunisia where the 1972 Munich Olympics terrorists were buried.

In fact, the wreath was laid at the Palestinian cemetery in Tunisia, which has a memorial to the victims of the universally condemned 1985 Israeli bombing of the PLO headquarters, many of whom were civilians.

The Munich terrorists are buried in another country, Libya.

Corbyn was in the wrong country.

Operation Wooden Leg – Wikipedia

Operation “Wooden Leg” ( Hebrew: מבצע רגל עץ‎, Mivtza Regel Etz) was an attack by Israel on the Palestine Liberation…


en.wikipedia.org

Verdict: False.

Analysis

On 10th August 2018, the Daily Mail published photographs taken from the Facebook page of the Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic mission to Tunisia, which showed Jeremy Corbyn laying a wreath at the Hamman Chott Cemetery in Tunis in 2014.

The Daily Mail alleged that one of the pictures showed Mr Corbyn with a memorial wreath in his hand standing feet “from the graves of terror leaders linked to the Munich Massacre”. The article went on to say: “The picture was among a number taken during a service to honour Palestinian ‘martyrs’. Buried in the cemetery in Tunisia are members of Black September, the terror group which massacred eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics.”

The article proceeded to report that “sources close to Mr Corbyn insisted he was at the service in 2014 to commemorate 47 Palestinians killed in an Israeli air strike on a Tunisian Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) base in 1985. But on a visit to the cemetery this week, the Daily Mail discovered that the monument to the air strike victims is 15 yards from where Mr Corbyn is pictured – and in a different part of the complex. Instead he was in front of a plaque that lies beside the graves of Black September members.

“The plaque honours three dead men: Salah Khalaf, who founded Black September; his key aide Fakhri al-Omari; and Hayel Abdel-Hamid, PLO Chief of Security. Adjacent to their graves is that of [Atef] Bseiso [PLO Head of Intelligence]. All were assassinated either by the Israeli secret service Mossad or rival Palestinian factions.”

In an article for the Morning Star newspaper a few days after his visit to Tunis, Mr Corbyn wrote about his trip, recounting how “wreaths were laid at the graves of those who died [in the 1985 Israeli airstrike] and on the graves of others killed by Mossad agents in Paris in 1991.”

When the Daily Mail story broke, Mr Corbyn reiterated what he had written in the Morning Star several years prior: “A wreath was indeed laid by some of those who attended the conference to those that were killed in Paris in 1992. I was present when it was laid. I don’t think I was actually involved in it. I was there because I wanted to see a fitting memorial to everyone who has died in every terrorist incident everywhere because we have to end it.”

A few hours later, Mr Corbyn’s office unequivocally denied that Mr Corbyn had laid a wreath at the graves of those linked to the Munich Massacre.

However, the reference to Paris indicated that Mr Corbyn was indeed involved in a commemoration at the cemetery for Atef Bseiso, who was killed outside a Paris hotel in 1992, either by a rival faction or by Israeli security services.

Mr Maginn is correct to insist that Mr Corbyn was not present at the graves of the Munich terrorists, but that was not the Daily Mail’s claim; the newspaper reported that he was at a commemoration for “terror leaders linked to the Munich Massacre”. Given that Atef Bseiso was PLO Head of Intelligence and generally believed to have been behind the Munich terror attack, the newspaper’s contention appears reasonable, as did the conclusions drawn by its readership and the Jewish community.

In the days following the Daily Mail’s report, the Labour Party made a formal complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) against the Daily Mail, The Times, The Sun, The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Express and the Metro, apparently for misrepresenting the event that Mr Corbyn had attended. But the Labour Party eventually withdrew its complaint, blaming leaked communications that it claimed had compromised IPSO’s investigation.

Mr Corbyn was also referred to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards over a potential failure to declare the trip to Tunisia, especially given that guests were alleged to have stayed at a five-star hotel. E-mails from the time were leaked, suggesting that Mr Corbyn had sought to keep the costs below the reporting threshold so that he would not have to refer to the trip in Parliamentary debates. Mr Corbyn’s office eventually estimated that the trip had cost £4 less than the £660 threshold, and hence did not need to be reported.

Verdict: Not “false”.

6: Baddiel’s Leaflet

Claim: There was a leaflet at a Labour Party Conference about the Holocaust that didn’t mention Jews.

TV celebrity David Baddiel claimed in a TV promo for his book ‘Jews Don’t Count’ that he had been informed by ‘someone on the NEC’ [Labour National Executive Committee] that there had been a leaflet circulated at a Labour Conference about the Holocaust that didn’t mention Jews.

What he seems to be referring to in garbled form here is a petition by the SWP (Socialist Workers Party) in 2008 at a far-right rally in Derbyshire, which, by some unaccountable error, lists the other victims of the Holocaust but omits ‘six million Jews’. It has never been repeated, and SWP have never denied or minimised the Holocaust in any way. Ironically, the petition was specifically about remembering the victims of the Holocaust, in the face of far-right Holocaust denial.

Nothing to do with the Labour Party. Nothing to do with a Labour Conference. Nothing whatsoever to do with Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Baddiel has never, to my knowledge, been challenged on his claim, nor has he been required to show any evidence that what he claims happened ever happened at all.

Has the SWP Discovered a “Jew-Free” Holocaust?

He makes the claim here, at 55.00

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_3g4UGVcNQ&t=1s

Verdict: False.*

* A previous version of this said Baddiel had said it was a ‘Labour Party leaflet’. This has been challenged, and I have been unable to verify that he did in fact use those words, so I have deleted them. The substance of his claim remains unchanged: that it was a leaflet ‘circulated at a Labour Party Conference’. No evidence of this has ever been produced, or even asked for.

Analysis

This item is drawn from a Zoom interview of the comedian and author David Baddiel, in conversation with the Jewish former Labour MP Ruth Smeeth organised by the Antisemitism Policy Trust, on 5th March 2021.

This is the full transcript of the segment:

David Baddiel (DB): “When someone says “antisemitism” [in scare quotes], I presume that’s a Labour person, who is someone who thinks it’s all smears, and it never existed or whatever. I mean one of the things that is really annoying about that is, I notice, what they tend to do, those people, is they’ll say it was all smears and, you know, it was all weaponised by the Tories or whatever, and then they’ll say ‘and it diminishes the struggle against real antisemitism’. And I always wanna say, at what point, by the way, would you recognise real antisemitism? Cause there’s all this stuff that Jews are saying that they’re unhappy with, but you’re dismissing all that as ‘smears’. So I’d like to know what you thik  antisemitism, is it just genocide? Is that the only thing that counts? You know, because it’s a really extraordinary thing. They always bring it up: it’s like, the ‘real’, what’s real antisemitism. And I always thing, who’s defining that?”

Ruth Smeeth [RS]: “Yeh they think Nazis. They mean the far-right and Nazis.”

DB: “They just mean that. Yeh okay.”

RS: “I think one of the most shocking testimonies that went through, there was far-right material that was distributed at a Labour Party event, and it had been, it was a BNP leaflet, as fact. Like, a really old school proper Nazi, Jews-run-the-world stuff. And, I mean, how the Labour Party dealt with it was appalling. They asked the Jewish person who’d seen it why she’d be offended by it as part of the evidence testimony. But it just showed the circle that we’d gone on, that certain members of the Labour Party thought it was appropriate, that there was valid messaging in a far-right leaflet.”

DB: “Yeh. That is appalling. A guy called Joel Braunold, who’s on twitter, who’s a Labour Party person, or he was, told me that he was at an NEC meeting a few years ago, and this wasn’t a right-wing thing, that there had been an information or educational leaflet going around conference or whatever about the Holocaust, and it mentioned all the groups –

RS: “Yeh”

DB: – that were targeted by the Holocaust, and it included gays, and Roma, and disabled people and communists and trade unionists, and it didn’t mention Jews, right?”

RS: “It was a trade union leaflet.”

DB: “Huh?”

RS: “It was a trade union leaflet.”

DB: “Yeh. And what is incredible about that is, I am prepared to accept that the people doing that are not just straightforward antisemites. That they think they’re doing something worthwhile. Because I think they think ‘well I think it’s important to draw attention to the other people who were killed.’ Obviously it is. But not if you miss out the primary target. Then you’re doing something that’s really weird, and vile, and whatever.”

For Mr Maginn to believe that a comment made in passing in 2021 – a year after Jeremy Corbyn stepped down as leader of the Labour Party – by one commentator towards the close of an hour-long interview on Zoom that has been viewed (at time of writing) by fewer than 1,000 people and was not covered by the media, is somehow a significant milestone in the story of Labour’s antisemitism scandal is nonsensical. It is a good example of strawmanning.

Mr Baddiel does not suggest that the leaflet in question circulated during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Party; in fact, the personalities whom he references suggest an earlier time frame. Even Mr Maginn is not able to identify the incident to which Mr Baddiel is referring. But even if Mr Baddiel had been mistaken, this item is so inconsequential that no significance could possibly be attributed to it.

What is clear is that the trend of omitting or minimising the targeting of Jews in the Holocaust is not an isolated occurrence but distressingly commonplace, including on the far-left, where, for example, calls to dilute or cancel Holocaust Memorial Day recur annually. Indeed in 2011, Jeremy Corbyn himself proposed a motion in Parliament to rename Holocaust Memorial Day. During the years of his leadership of the Party, there have been plenty of concerning spectacles at Labour conferences. At Labour’s 2017 Party conference, for example, a packed fringe event heard from American-Israeli activist Miko Peled that people should be free to ask “Holocaust, yes or no” because “there should be no limits on the discussion”, for which he was cheered.

Why Mr Maginn chose not to address an episode such as that, which took place during the Corbyn era and actually contributed to Labour’s antisemitism scandal, as opposed to a wholly unimportant comment made in passing years later at the end of a long Zoom conversation that received minimal public attention, is telling.

Verdict: Who cares?

5: The IHRA definition.

Claim: Corbyn’s Labour Party was antisemitic because of its initial reluctance to adopt the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism and all its examples.

The new head of the EHRC, Baroness Falkner, recently said the definition is ’extremely poorly worded and probably unactionable in law’ while it ‘directly conflicts with the duty to protect free speech’

https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/new-chair-of-equalities-watchdog-is-against-call-for-unis-to-adopt-ihra

The Labour party have been forced to publish details of a ‘secret code’ in operation, which was an attempt to make the IHRA definition legally actionable. Corbyn was condemned for this code, which Starmer has been forced to admit he is still using.

https://skwawkbox.org/2021/04/09/court-ordered-release-shows-labour-still-using-corbyns-incendiary-code-of-conduct-despite-howls-of-outrage-against-corbyn-silence-now

Verdict: False.

Analysis

The International Definition of Antisemitism, also known as the IHRA Definition, is the globally-recognised definition of anti-Jewish racism. It was the product of years of international collaboration and careful composition. It has support from Jewish communities around the world, and has been adopted by the British Government and numerous national governments and public bodies worldwide. It is opposed only by a minute fringe of Jews and by activists, many of whom routinely breach the Definition or support those who do.

In the summer of 2018, the Labour Party became embroiled in a scandal relating to whether it would adopt the Definition in full. Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the Party resisted for several months before eventually relenting and adopting the Definition.

During this controversy, in July 2018, it was revealed that the Party had adopted a “code of conduct” relating to antisemitism that took a pick-and-choose approach to anti-Jewish racism. Effectively, the Labour Party was saying that it knew better than the Jewish community how to define antisemitism.

Specifically, the code of conduct excluded four of the eleven examples of antisemitism incorporated in the Definition; namely, accusing Jews of dual loyalty, denying the Jews’ right to self-determination, comparing Israel to Nazis, and applying double standards to Israel.

These self-evidently racist positions seem obviously omitted for one reason: the Labour Party was trying to protect its then-dominant far-left contingent, including its leader, from being held to account for past comments and activity that might breach these aspects of the Definition. After all, the best way to prevent someone being exposed as an antisemite is to change the definition of antisemitism. Whether or not such a policy is antisemitic in itself – and Mr Maginn has not provided any citations for those saying that it was – it is certainly an attempt to provide institutional protection to racists.

Verdict: Not “false”.

4: The EHRC report.

Claim: The EHRC found the Labour party ‘institutionally antisemitic’.

The EHRC report, entitled ‘Investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party’, is 130 pages long. A search of the document itself (Ctrl F) using the words ‘institutionally antisemitic’ turns up only one result, on page 127. This section is annex 7, ‘How we carried out the investigation’, and it cites a report by Professor Alan Johnson (BICOM), ‘Institutionally Antisemitic: Contemporary Left Antisemitism and the Crisis in the British Labour Party’ (March 2019). It is used as a reference for the EHRC report, and is not part of the content.

The claim is not made anywhere in the EHRC report itself. It simply doesn’t say it. Read it.

https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/investigation-antisemitism-labour-party

Verdict: False

[This section has been edited for clarity. Thanks to Dangerous Globe for their input.]

Analysis

After the Labour Party repeatedly refused to investigate our complaints against Jeremy Corbyn relating to antisemitism, we referred the Party to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in 2018. The EHRC is an independent commission that was set up by the previous Labour Government.

At the EHRC’s request, Campaign Against Antisemitism submitted detailed legal arguments. We continued to provide additional legal arguments to the EHRC in relation to subsequent developments. Thereafter, the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Against Antisemitism Ltd made further submissions, which supported our referral.

In 2019, the EHRC announced that it was starting pre-enforcement proceedings against the Labour Party. After the Party failed to satisfy the EHRC that it could be trusted to address the antisemitism issue itself, Campaign Against Antisemitism asked the EHRC to open a statutory investigation under section 20 of the Equality Act 2006 into antisemitic discrimination and victimisation in the Labour Party. The Equality Act was legislation that had been introduced by the previous Labour Government.

On 28th May 2019, the EHRC announced a full statutory investigation, which enabled it to use its enforcement powers.

The only previous statutory investigation ever conducted by the EHRC was an investigation into unlawful harassment, discrimination and victimisation within the Metropolitan Police Service. The only other political party to have been subject to action by the EHRC was the British National Party, but that was not a statutory investigation.

The launch of a full statutory investigation by the EHRC into the Labour Party was an unprecedented development, resulting from the EHRC’s acknowledgement that the legal arguments made by Campaign Against Antisemitism were sufficiently compelling to merit investigating whether the Labour Party had committed unlawful acts.

In October 2020, the EHRC published its report into Labour antisemitism.

The EHRC did not set out to make a finding of “institutional antisemitism”, nor could it have done so, as this is not a legal category or designation. Instead, the EHRC’s objective was “to determine whether the Labour Party committed a breach of the Equality Act 2010, related to Jewish ethnicity or Judaism, against its members, associates or guests, through the actions of its employees or agents.”

The EHRC found that the Labour Party had breached the Equality Act 2010, and in its report “concluded that there were unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination [against Jewish people] for which the Labour Party is responsible.” In other words, Labour’s racist treatment of Jewish people had become so serious that it had broken the law.

The EHRC found, for the first time ever in relation to a political party, that the Labour Party was in breach of the Equality Act 2010 due to serious failings in the Party’s disciplinary procedures, including political interference in antisemitism complaints, failure to provide adequate training to those handling antisemitism complaints, serious errors within the complaints system, inappropriate applications of sanctions, unclear policy for antisemitism on social media and an overall failure of Party leadership in relation to antisemitism.

The 1999 Stephen Lawrence Inquiry’s report, commonly known as the Macpherson Report, defined institutional racism as “the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin”.

In view of the fact that the EHRC found that Labour, as an institution, was so racist that it had broken the law, it is reasonable to describe the Party as having become institutionally antisemitic. Although it was not within the EHRC’s terms of reference to make such a finding in those terms, institutional antisemitism is in essence what its report was describing.

Verdict: Strawman.

3: The Friends.

Claim: Corbyn referred to representatives of Hamas and Hezbollah as ‘our friends’.

This is so. What is missing here is context. Corbyn habitually refers to anyone at a meeting as ‘friends’. It is a boilerplate diplomatic courtesy attempting to establish a positive atmosphere to a hopefully productive meeting. It does not mean he agrees with everything every one of them has ever said and done, because that isn’t how meetings work. If it were, he would, logically, also have to agree with everything said and done by the opposing side, as well as holding all the positions of everyone he’s ever met, and I think a moment’s consideration shows this idea to be obviously absurd.

Corbyn has explicitly condemned Hamas in parliament, for instance: https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/37443

Verdict: True but grossly misleading because of context-stripping.

Analysis

The groups referred to here are Hamas and Hizballah. Both are antisemitic, Islamist genocidal terrorist organisations sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state, and which have persistently targeted Jewish people in Israel and around the world, murdering them in their hundreds.

In a meeting in Parliament in 2009, Jeremy Corbyn made the following remarks: “I want to first of all say thank you to everyone for being here tonight, and to say that tomorrow evening it will be my pleasure and my honour to host an event in Parliament where our friends from Hizballah will be speaking. I also invited our friends from Hamas to come and speak as well. Unfortunately, the Israelis would not allow them to travel here, so it’s going to be only friends from Hizballah. So far as I’m concerned, that is absolutely the right function of using Parliamentary facilities to invite people from other parts of the world…[applause] so that we can promote that peace, that understanding, and that dialogue. And the idea that an organisation that is dedicated towards the good of the Palestinian people and bringing about long-term peace and social justice and political justice in the whole region should be labelled as a terrorist organisation by the British Government is really a big big historical mistake, and I would invite the Government to reconsider its position on this matter and start talking directly to Hamas and Hizballah.”

That is the fuller context, which Mr Maginn claims has been “stripped” by Mr Corbyn’s critics.

To interpret these quoted remarks as emanating from someone with a neutral position in relation to Hamas and Hizballah, and who was only using “diplomatic” language to be inclusive – language that, incidentally, was not extended to “the Israelis” – is laughable. Mr Corbyn described these murderous, racist, terror groups as organisations that are “dedicated towards…bringing about long-term peace and social justice and political justice”. This is a politician who clearly sounded sympathetic to the aims of these organisations.

Worse still, at the time that Mr Corbyn made his remarks, the British Government (then a Labour Government) had only proscribed what it considered to be the “military wings” of Hamas and Hizballah, and not their so-called “political wings”. Mr Corbyn’s wider point was therefore a criticism of the British Government’s oppositional stance toward the expressly violent elements of these organisations. This is a politician who clearly sounded sympathetic not only to the aims of these organisations, but also to their methods.

In 2015, during the Labour leadership primary, Mr Corbyn was pressed on these past remarks. He explained: “I’m saying that people I talk to, I use it in a collective way, saying our friends are prepared to talk. Does it mean I agree with Hamas and what it does? No. Does it mean I agree with Hizballah and what they do? No. What it means is that I think to bring about a peace process, you have to talk to people with whom you may profoundly disagree.”

In 2016, when asked by the Home Affairs Committee about the “friends” description, Mr Corbyn said: “It was inclusive language I used which with hindsight I would rather not have used. I regret using those words, of course.”

This was not the only occasion in which Mr Corbyn used “inclusive” language to describe Islamist terrorists. Another was in 2012, when, on a programme on the Iranian propaganda channel Press TV, Mr Corbyn described hundreds of Hamas terrorists as “brothers”. Among Mr Corbyn’s “brothers” was Abdul Aziz Umar, who had been given seven life sentences after he helped in the preparation of a suicide vest which was detonated at a restaurant in Jerusalem in 2003. Seven civilians were murdered.

Verdict: Not “false”.

2: Ruth Smeeth/Marc Wadsworth

Claim: Marc Wadsworth used an antisemitic trope to Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth.

At the launch of the Chakrabarti report on antisemitism in April 2016, black rights activist Marc Wadsworth was reported as saying to (then Labour MP) Ruth Smeeth, who is Jewish, ‘Look who’s working hand in hand with the media’.

  1. Marc Wadsworth had no knowledge Ms Smeeth is Jewish, nor any reason to know it. He merely recognised her as a Labour MP, and saw Ms Smeeth and a Daily Telegraph journalist passing a document between them. There is nothing in his words to suggest antisemitism.
  1. There simply is no antisemitic trope of ‘working hand in hand with the media’. Of course Jewish people work in and with the media, why shouldn’t they? The trope is control and ownership of the media. So this accusation requires the manufacturing of an entirely new antisemitic trope, and one which is patently ridiculous.

Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHv3D7g4RH4

Verdict: False

Analysis

In 2016, with mounting pressure over antisemitism and two internal Labour Party investigations already quashed by the leadership, Jeremy Corbyn appointed the human rights barrister Shami Chakrabarti to lead yet another inquiry, this time not only into anti-Jewish racism, which was the trigger for the investigation, but, controversially, into the broader category of “antisemitism and other forms of racism, including Islamophobia”. Although the inquiry was billed as being independent, on the same day as her appointment, Ms Chakrabarti joined the Labour Party, and explained in her “independent” report that “my inquiry would be conducted, and any recommendations made, in the Party’s best interests.”

In April 2016, the ostensibly independent report was presented by not only Ms Chakrabarti but also, inexplicably, by Mr Corbyn. The presentation took place at a press conference. Present were numerous journalists; MPs, including Ruth Smeeth; and Labour activists, including Marc Wadsworth, to help fill the room. The activists cheered Mr Corbyn and booed the journalists in what became a small political rally instead of the sober introspection that the event had called for.

In his opening remarks launching a report about antisemitism, Mr Corbyn compared Israel to ISIS by saying “our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organisations.”

Mr Wadsworth, a longtime associate of Mr Corbyn’s who had reportedly been handing out leaflets against “traitors” earlier on, used the event’s question-and-answer segment to accuse Ms Smeeth – a female Labour MP and one of the Party’s best-known Jewish MPs, who is active in its Jewish affiliate and more widely on Jewish affairs – sitting just a few seats away from him, of working “hand in hand” with The Daily Telegraph, which he dubbed the “Torygraph”. Those in the room interpreted his remarks as suggesting that she, a Jew, was treacherously working with Labour’s rivals to undermine Mr Corbyn’s leadership. In the context of the event, the further insinuation was that the concerns about antisemitism that this event was ostensibly meant to address were part of that effort to sabotage Mr Corbyn. Mr Wadsworth was briefly drowned out by cries of “how dare you!”

He then went on to complain that there were too few “African, Caribbean, and Asian people” in the room, implying that the Labour Party’s more immediate problem was not with Jews but with other minorities. One journalist, sitting near Ms Smeeth, commented under his breath: “antisemitism at the launch of an antisemitism report.” Ms Smeeth fled the room in tears. Mr Corbyn, standing at a podium that read “Standing Up Not Standing By”, stood by as Ms Smeeth left the room, and proceeded to answer Mr Wadsworth’s question.

When the event was over, Mr Wadsworth and Mr Corbyn had a good laugh together, with Mr Corbyn telling him that he had sent Mr Wadsworth a text message, and Mr Wadsworth boasting that he had “outed” Ms Smeeth, “bloody talking to the Torygraph!”

Shortly thereafter, Ms Chakrabarti was awarded a peerage, despite Mr Corbyn’s previous pledge not to appoint members to the House of Lords, and she was then appointed to his cabinet.

Mr Wadsworth claimed that he did not know that Ms Smeeth is Jewish. In 2018, he was expelled from the Labour Party in connection with this incident.

Ms Smeeth wrote after the event: “It is beyond belief that someone could come to the launch of a report on antisemitism in the Labour Party and espouse such vile conspiracy theories about Jewish people, which were ironically highlighted as such in Ms Chakrabarti’s report, while the leader of my own party stood by and did absolutely nothing. People like this have no place in our party or our movement and must be opposed.”

In the months following the event, Ms Smeeth experienced some 25,000 incidents of abuse, much of it racial. One of her abusers had authored a 1,000-word document describing how he would murder her. She assumed that it was a far-right individual. It turned out that he was a supporter of Mr Corbyn’s.

Verdict: Not “false”.

1: The Mural.

Image by Donahue Rogers

Claim: Corbyn approved of an antisemitic mural, which shows ‘big-nosed Jewish bankers’ exploiting the masses.

Everyone’s favourite.

  1. They’re not ‘Jewish bankers’. Five are bankers, only two of whom are Jewish, and the sixth is a bizarre figure from the world of Edwardian English occultism, Aleister Crowley, also not Jewish (he invented his own religion, Thelema). It is quite obviously not a statement about ‘Jews’, as the artist himself has explained, since only two of the ‘big-nosed’ figures are Jewish. The accusation simply makes no sense.
  2. Neither did Corbyn ‘approve’ of it. He saw a thumbnail of a facebook post about it, and asked why it had been removed. When it was explained to him that some people maintained it was antisemitic, he apologised.

That’s literally the whole thing.

Verdict: False.

Analysis

The mural in question was titled Freedom for Humanity and was created by the American artist Kalen Ockerman, known as Mear One. It was a temporary mural painted on a wall on Hanbury Street in Tower Hamlets in London in 2012. The mural, pictured in full below, depicts older, white-appearing men in suits seated alongside one another playing a Monopoly-like board game resting on the backs of dark-skinned, bald, naked men. Behind the players is the Eye of Providence and scenes of chimneys billowing smoke and images of protest. The players are supposedly dictating the “New World Order”, and the mural plays on notions of freemasonry, the Illuminati and other conspiracy theories, many of which are often bound up with anti-capitalist and anti-establishment antisemitism on both the far-left and the far-right.

The players are claimed to represent actual figures, two of whom are Jewish. The two Jewish figures, Lord Rothschild and Paul Warburg, have exaggerated noses, a classic antisemitic motif. The other figures have alternative exaggerated features.

At the time that the mural was displayed, it provoked negative reactions from local politicians, who sought to have it removed. The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, for example, said: “The images of the bankers perpetuate antisemitic propaganda about conspiratorial Jewish domination of financial and political institutions.”

The artist defended the mural, saying: “I came to paint a mural that depicted the elite banker cartel known as the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, Morgans, the ruling class elite few, the Wizards of Oz. They would be playing a board game of monopoly on the backs of the working class. The symbol of the Freemason Pyramid rises behind this group and behind that is a polluted world of coal burning and nuclear reactors. I was creating this piece to inspire critical thought and spark conversation. A group of conservatives do not like my mural and are playing a race card with me. My mural is about class and privilege. The banker group is made up of Jewish and white Anglos. For some reason they are saying I am antisemitic. This I am most definitely not…What I am against is class.”

He is also reported to have said that “some of the older white Jewish folk in the local community had an issue with me portraying their beloved #Rothschild or #Warburg etc as the demons they are.”

The artist posted on Facebook that there were calls to remove the mural. Jeremy Corbyn commented on the post, which featured a full picture of the mural, asking: “Why? You are in good company. Rockerfeller [sic] destroyed Diego Viera’s mural because it includes a picture of Lenin.”

In 2018, the mural controversy resurfaced, including Mr Corbyn’s comment. The Jewish then-Labour MP, Luciana Berger, asked his office to explain his historic comment. Mr Corbyn’s office issued a statement: “In 2012, Jeremy was responding to concerns about the removal of public art on grounds of freedom of speech. However, the mural was offensive, used antisemitic imagery, which has no place in our society, and it is right that it was removed.”

This statement is a non-sequitur. Did Mr Corbyn accept at the time that the mural was antisemitic, but believed that it should remain on the grounds of freedom of speech? Or did he not accept that it was antisemitic at the time, but now, as leader, recognised that it was expedient to admit that it was?

Alternatively, perhaps Mr Corbyn never noticed that it was antisemitic. This was the charitable interpretation that many drew, acknowledging that it also meant that he was not able to recognise antisemitic tropes when they appeared on the far-left. This blindness could, at best, be said to characterise Mr Corbyn’s entire approach to Labour’s antisemitism scandal. At worst, in view of his long record of utterances and activity, he is himself an antisemite.

Regarding the mural, Mr Maginn claims that it was not antisemitic, except for where it was. He also claims that Jeremy Corbyn could not have been expected to have seen the mural properly, but that when it was later explained to him, Mr Corbyn agreed that it was right to remove the mural – because it was antisemitic. Yet Mr Maginn still claims, pace Mr Corbyn, that the mural was not in fact antisemitic. In other words, even incidents that Mr Corbyn is prepared to accept are antisemitic, Mr Maginn is not.

Verdict: Not “false”.

#ItWasAScam is a scam

Following 7th October, the Metropolitan Police Service reported a 1,350% increase in hate crimes against Jewish people. This statistic is incredibly alarming, but on its own it does not paint the full picture of what the effect of this surge in antisemitism is on British Jews.

That is why Campaign Against Antisemitism has today launched a nationwide billboard campaign spotlighting what it is like to be Jewish in Britain right now, and showing how the impact of that antisemitism penetrates the daily life of British Jews of all ages.

Kindergartens with guards, Jewish schools discouraging their pupils from wearing blazers with a Jewish school crest, university students afraid to reveal their religion, football stadiums full of people invoking the Nazi gas chambers, and intimidation outside synagogues.

We have chosen a sample of the real-life everyday effects of antisemitism on British Jews.

At a time when 69% of British Jews say that they are less likely to show visible signs of their Judaism, it is important now, more than ever, that the British public is informed about the extent of the scandal of antisemitism in Britain.

Let everyone know that Hamas are terrorists

On 9th March, Niyak Ghorbani held a sign condemning Hamas as a terror organisation next to an anti-Israel demonstration in London. Footage appears to show that he was abused by protesters and potentially assaulted.

The police did not arrest those who were furious that he was pointing out that Hamas is a terrorist organisation. Instead, a phalanx of officers pulled him to the ground and violently arrested him, as he shouted “shame on you!” Police snatched, scrunched up and confiscated his accurate and perfectly legal sign which, from the footage, appears to be exactly what the protesters had sought to do. Mr Ghorbani was injured and required hospital treatment for a wound.

We provided Mr Ghorbani with assistance, including arranging legal representation, and we are pleased to announce that the outrageous charges brought against him have been dropped and the case is now closed.

The police are now, rightly, seeking the man who is on video appearing to assault Mr Ghorbani. If you have any information, please contact us at [email protected].

In the meantime, our lawyers are continuing to examine legal options in relation to the unacceptable police response to Mr Ghorbani’s lawful exercise of his free speech rights.

Policing of these weekly anti-Israel demonstrations is a shambles. Mr Ghorbani’s case – where an innocent man was arrested while potential criminals continued on their way – is a scandal. We will do everything in our power to force the Met Police to change course and finally start punishing criminality and extremism.

Mr Ghorbani was accosted and then arrested, all because he was trying to point out that, under UK law, Hamas is a terrorist organisation. So when the police censored him, we decided to amplify his message.

We created t-shirts and hoodies emblazoned with the same message, which we have made available for sale. Many of you have already bought them, wearing them to protests and posting pictures on social media.

We also enlisted our digital van to help spread the message, driving it to the very location where Mr Ghorbani was wrongly arrested.

It is a sad reflection of the times we live in when it has become controversial to promulgate the simple moral and legal truth that Hamas are terrorists.

Broadcasters must call Hamas terrorists too

This week, the BBC called the terror attack in Moscow, for which ISIS took responsibility, a “terror attack”. Perhaps realising that this might mean that the broadcaster would also have to call the Hamas terror attack, which was the biggest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, a “terror attack”, the description of the Moscow attack was quickly deleted. This is not the first time that the BBC has done this.

The broadcaster’s refusal to describe Hamas as terrorists – and its increasingly comical efforts not to be called out for hypocrisy by calling other terrorist groups by their name – is, at best, a failure to live up to its own principles of accuracy, impartiality and fairness. That is why it is so important to have our voices heard.

Our Parliamentary Petition calling for terrorism legislation to be amended to require all broadcasters regulated by Ofcom to describe all terrorist organisations proscribed in the UK and their operatives as “terrorists” and not by any other descriptor, has been signed by over 10,000 of your so far, from almost every constituency in the UK. That means that the Government must now consider and respond to the proposal.

With 100,000 signatures, the topic will be considered for debate in Parliament. Please help us to right this wrong and urge lawmakers to act to ensure that television and radio audiences get the real facts in the news that they consume.

How many people in Britain sympathise with Hamas?

New polling has found that there are over 2.5 million Hamas sympathisers currently in Britain (4% of the British population). Almost a further 17 million (26%) “don’t know” if they sympathise with Hamas.

The figures are worst amongst the young. For example, one in ten of those aged 18-24 say that they hold a favourable view of Hamas.

The polling also shows that over three million Britons (5%) want all Jewish presence in the Middle East eliminated through mass expulsion, and the same number say that the 7th October atrocity was “justified”.

Terrorists pose a threat not only to British Jews, but to the entirety of British society. The approaches tried so far by our Government and police forces have not worked. The radicalisation of our country, and particularly our youth, poses a grave danger to the whole United Kingdom.

We hope that those celebrating had a joyous Purim

With antisemitism surging in the UK, war in Israel and hostages still trapped in Gaza, the story of Purim and the power to overcome genocidal hatred of Jews is as relevant as ever.

We hope that, circumstances notwithstanding, those who were celebrating this Jewish holiday had a joyous weekend.

Those protesting on our streets and our national broadcasters must be reminded that Hamas are terrorists — and they cannot be allowed to hide away from that fact. Whether by exposing the failures and hypocrisies of our public institutions, making apparel available, or by changing the law, we will continue to find innovative and effective ways to spread that vital message.

Today, Campaign Against Antisemitism has launched a nationwide billboard campaign spotlighting what it is like to be Jewish in Britain today.

Following 7th October, the Metropolitan Police Service reported a 1,350% increase in hate crimes against Jewish people. This statistic is incredibly alarming, but on its own it does not paint the full picture of what the effect of this surge in antisemitism is on British Jews.

Whereas our campaign last year – the first ever national billboard campaign about antisemitism – raised awareness of antisemitism and showcased the diversity of the Jewish community, this year we have sought to show how the impact of that antisemitism penetrates the daily life of British Jews of all ages.

Kindergartens with guards, Jewish schools discouraging their pupils from wearing blazers with a Jewish school crest, university students afraid to reveal their religion, football stadiums full of people invoking the Nazi gas chambers, and intimidation outside synagogues: these are just a sample of the real-life effects of antisemitism on British Jews.

At a time when 69% of British Jews say that they are less likely to show visible signs of their Judaism, it is important now, more than ever, that the British public is informed about the extent of the scandal of antisemitism in Britain.

Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “People are often presented with statistics and studies when trying to understand the experience of the Jewish community, and we have been conducting polling on antisemitism in recent months. But such data only goes so far. What is the real effect of surging antisemitism on the everyday lives of British Jews, from infants to the elderly, at schools, university and at cultural and sporting events? Routines are disrupted and fear infects daily lives, which is why the community must take so many security precautions. That impact is the message that this billboard campaign is trying to deliver to the British public up and down the country.”

A new report shows an alarming surge in antisemitic incidents in the UK, particularly since the Hamas attack of 7th October 2023.

According to the report by CST, more than 4,000 antisemitic incidents were recorded in 2023, marking a significant increase from previous years. This spike in hatred has been attributed to the sheer volume of antisemitism following the Hamas attack of 7th October 2023.

Mark Gardner, Chief Executive of CST, described the situation as “an absolute disgrace”, emphasising the resilience of British Jews in the face of this surge in hatred. He stated: “British Jews are strong and resilient, but the explosion in hatred against our community is deeply concerning. It occurs in schools, universities, workplaces, on the streets, and all over social media.”

The report outlined a range of disturbing incidents, including 3,328 cases of abusive behaviour, 266 incidents of assault, 305 threats and 182 instances of damage and desecration. Alarmingly, almost a fifth of the recorded incidents involved perpetrators under the age of eighteen, highlighting the urgent need for education and intervention.

Furthermore, the report observed that, for the first time, at least one antisemitic incident was recorded in every single police region in the UK in the course of one year, demonstrating how widespread the problem has become.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “The CST’s figures reveal the explosion in antisemitic hate crime that the Jewish community has experienced in the past several months. It is particularly notable that the surge in anti-Jewish racism began in the immediate wake of 7th October, indisputably demonstrating that antisemites in the UK were emboldened by Hamas’s massacre of Jews, and that is why we are seeing what we are seeing on our streets and campuses, in workplaces and cultural institutions and online. There is a sickness in our country, and the sclerotic and overly-generous reaction of our criminal justice system shows that our institutions have utterly failed to grasp the gravity of the threat that our society faces right now.”

Around the world, International Holocaust Memorial Day was marked with dignity and respect. But not everywhere.

Some, like Labour MP Kate Osamor, used the occasion to imply in a message to constituents that what is happening in Gaza is comparable to the Holocaust and, by strong implication, that Israel acts like the Nazis, a breach of the International Definition of Antisemitism.

Her apology rang hollow, as if she was unaware of the meaning of her own remarks. Clearly, her understanding of antisemitism is deficient and not in accordance with that of her Party, which has adopted the Definition.

We have called on the Labour Party to suspend her, and she must be required to undertake antisemitism training by a reputable provider.

Meanwhile, at anti-Israel demonstrations in the UK, protesters desecrated the solemnity of the day, not only by equating Israel to Nazis as well, but also in providing a masterclass in how a phenomenon like Holocaust-denial begins, as they cast doubt on, played down or outright denied the Hamas atrocities of 7th October.

Leicester Square attack

Not only are the police failing to police the weekly anti-Israel demonstrations adequately, but they are also failing individual Jews under attack.

Last weekend, in the early hours of the morning, three Jews were physically assaulted by ten men in Leicester Square, resulting in serious injuries. Incredibly, not a single bystanders assisted.

Although the victims called the police while the attack was underway, and notwithstanding that it was taking place in the heart of London, police officers only showed up after half an hour, by which time the perpetrators had fled the scene.

The Metropolitan Police must identify and arrest the attackers. The victims are also calling on the police to apologise for failing them when they needed them most.

Watch the victims speak out here.

“Generation hate”: frightening new polling published

Campaign Against Antisemitism commissioned King’s College London to survey British adults’ attitudes towards Jews, using YouGov.

The polling has revealed worrying levels of anti-Jewish prejudice among the British public, with particularly frightening rates among young people aged between 18 and 24.

Published in the week of Holocaust Memorial Day, the polling raises serious questions about whether lessons about the antisemitism that motivated the Nazis have really been learned by British young adults.

  • A quarter of British people over 64 believe that Israel treats the Palestinians like the Nazis treated the Jews. Among 18-24 year olds, it is over a third.
  • Almost one fifth of the British public believes that Israel can get away with anything because its supporters control the media. Among 18-24 year olds, it is more than a quarter.
  • Compared to the general population (one in twenty), double the proportion of 18-24s (almost one in ten) do not believe that Jewish people are just as loyal to Britain as other British people.
  • Compared to the general population, more than double the proportion of 18-24 year olds are not as open to having Jewish friends as they are to having friends from other sections of British society.
  • While almost one fifth of the British public believes that Israel and its supporters are a bad influence on our democracy, that rises to over one quarter of 18-24 year olds.
  • 7% of Britons do not believe that Israel is right to defend itself against those who want to destroy it. That figure doubles to 14% of 18-24 year olds.
  • 14% of British people are not comfortable spending time with people who openly support Israel. Among 18-24 year olds, that figure rises to 21% – more than one fifth of the young population.
  • More than one in ten young Britons do not believe that Israel has a right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people.
  • More than one in ten 18-24 year olds believe that Jewish people talk about the Holocaust just to further their political agenda.

Other findings from the survey:

  • More than one in ten British people believe that Jewish people chase money more than other people do.
  • Only three quarters of British people believe that Jewish people can be trusted just as much as other British people in business.
  • More than one in ten Britons believe that, compared to other groups, Jewish people have too much power in the media.

The rhetoric that we are seeing online, on television and on our streets is radicalising the British public, but it is the rates of antisemitism that we have discovered among 18-24 year olds that are most frightening. This is generation hate.

On the occasion 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, as a society, we 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.

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 YouGov survey was designed and analysed by experts at KCL on behalf of Campaign Against Antisemitism. Total sample size was 2,084 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 8th-11th December 2023 by YouGov plc. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). The full results, background information and methodology can be found here.

This weekend saw the memory of the Holocaust appropriated to abuse the Jewish community. What would the British soldiers who liberated the Nazi death camps make of Britain today?

Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) commissioned King’s College London to survey British adults’ attitudes towards Jews, using YouGov.

The polling has revealed worrying levels of anti-Jewish prejudice among the British public, with particularly frightening rates among young people aged between 18 and 24.

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

  • A quarter of British people over 64 believe that Israel treats the Palestinians like the Nazis treated the Jews. Among 18-24 year olds, it is over a third.
  • Almost one fifth of the British public believes that Israel can get away with anything because its supporters control the media. Among 18-24 year olds, it is more than a quarter.
  • Compared to the general population (one in twenty), double the proportion of 18-24s (almost one in ten) do not believe that Jewish people are just as loyal to Britain as other British people.
  • Compared to the general population, more than double the proportion of 18-24 year olds are not as open to having Jewish friends as they are to having friends from other sections of British society.
  • While almost one fifth of the British public believes that Israel and its supporters are a bad influence on our democracy, that rises to over one quarter of 18-24 year olds.
  • 7% of Britons do not believe that Israel is right to defend itself against those who want to destroy it. That figure doubles to 14% of 18-24 year olds.
  • 14% of British people are not comfortable spending time with people who openly support Israel. Among 18-24 year olds, that figure rises to 21% – more than one fifth of the young population.
  • More than one in ten young Britons do not believe that Israel has a right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people.
  • More than one in ten 18-24 year olds believe that Jewish people talk about the Holocaust just to further their political agenda.

Other findings from the survey:

  • More than one in ten British people believe that Jewish people chase money more than other people do.
  • Only three quarters of British people believe that Jewish people can be trusted just as much as other British people in business.
  • More than one in ten Britons believe that, compared to other groups, Jewish people have too much power in the media.

The YouGov survey was designed and analysed by experts at KCL on behalf of CAA.

Total sample size was 2,084 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 8th-11th December 2023 by YouGov plc. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “The rhetoric that we are seeing online, on television and on our streets is radicalising the British public, but it is the rates of antisemitism that we have discovered among 18-24 year olds that are most frightening. This is generation hate.

“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.

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

Full results

Jewish people can be trusted just as much as other British people in business.

  • Strongly agree 42
  • Agree 33
  • Neither agree nor disagree 21
  • Disagree 3
  • Strongly disagree 2
  • TOTAL AGREE 75
  • TOTAL DISAGREE 5

Only three quarters of British people believe that Jewish people can be trusted just as much as other British people in business.

Jewish people are just as loyal to Britain as other British people.    

  • Strongly agree 34
  • Agree 32
  • Neither agree nor disagree 29
  • Disagree 3
  • Strongly disagree 2
  • TOTAL AGREE 66
  • TOTAL DISAGREE 5 (rises to 9% among young people, i.e. 18-24)

Compared to the general population (one in twenty), double the proportion of 18-24s (almost one in ten) do not believe that Jewish people are just as loyal to Britain as other British people.

I am just as open to having Jewish friends as I am to having friends from other sections of British society.    

  • Strongly agree 56
  • Agree 28
  • Neither agree nor disagree 13
  • Disagree 1
  • Strongly disagree 1
  • TOTAL AGREE 84
  • TOTAL DISAGREE 2 (rises to 5% among young people)

Compared to the general population (2%), more than double the proportion of 18-24 year olds (5%) are not as open to having Jewish friends as they are to having friends from other sections of British society.

Compared to other groups, Jewish people have too much power in the media.

  • Strongly agree 4
  • Agree 8
  • Neither agree nor disagree 42
  • Disagree 24
  • Strongly disagree 22
  • TOTAL AGREE 12 (rises to 16% among young people)
  • TOTAL DISAGREE 46

More than one in ten Britons believe that, compared to other groups, Jewish people have too much power in the media.

Jewish people talk about the Holocaust just to further their political agenda.

  • Strongly agree 2
  • Agree 6
  • Neither agree nor disagree 30
  • Disagree 29
  • Strongly disagree 33
  • TOTAL AGREE 8 (rises to 11% among young people)
  • TOTAL DISAGREE 62

More than one in ten 18-24 year olds believe that Jewish people talk about the Holocaust just to further their political agenda.

Jewish people chase money more than other people do.    

  • Strongly agree 3
  • Agree 8
  • Neither agree nor disagree 43
  • Disagree 21
  • Strongly disagree 25
  • TOTAL AGREE 11
  • TOTAL DISAGREE 46

More than one in ten British people believe that Jewish people chase money more than other people do.

I am comfortable spending time with people who openly support Israel    

  • Strongly agree 14
  • Agree 24
  • Neither agree nor disagree 48
  • Disagree 9
  • Strongly disagree 5
  • TOTAL AGREE 38
  • TOTAL DISAGREE 14 (rises to 21% among young people)

14% of British people are not comfortable spending time with people who openly support Israel. Among 18-24 year olds, that figure rises to 21% – more than one fifth of the young population.

Israel has a right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people    

  • Strongly agree 21
  • Agree 35
  • Neither agree nor disagree 37
  • Disagree 4
  • Strongly disagree 3
  • TOTAL AGREE 56
  • TOTAL DISAGREE 7 (rises to 11% among young people)

More than one in ten young Britons do not believe that Israel has a right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people.

Israel is right to defend itself against those who want to destroy it    

  • Strongly agree 20
  • Agree 38
  • Neither agree nor disagree     34
  • Disagree 4
  • Strongly disagree 3
  • TOTAL AGREE 58
  • TOTAL DISAGREE 7 (rises to 14% among young people)

Seven percent of Britons, and fourteen percent of young Britons, do not believe that Israel is right to defend itself against those who want to destroy it.

Israel and its supporters are a bad influence on our democracy    

  • Strongly agree 7
  • Agree 10
  • Neither agree nor disagree 51
  • Disagree 21
  • Strongly disagree 12
  • TOTAL AGREE 17 (rises to 28% among young people)
  • TOTAL DISAGREE 33

Over one quarter of young people believe that Israel and its supporters are a bad influence on our democracy, compared to almost one fifth of the wider British public.

Israel can get away with anything because its supporters control the media    

  • Strongly agree 6
  • Agree 12
  • Neither agree nor disagree 45
  • Disagree 23
  • Strongly disagree 15
  • TOTAL AGREE 18 (rises to 26% among young people)
  • TOTAL DISAGREE 38

Almost one fifth of the British public believes that Israel can get away with anything because its supporters control the media. Among young people, it is more than a quarter.

Israel treats the Palestinians like the Nazis treated the Jews    

  • Strongly agree 12
  • Agree 18
  • Neither agree nor disagree 43
  • Disagree 15
  • Strongly disagree 12
  • TOTAL AGREE 30 (rises to 34% of young people)
  • TOTAL DISAGREE 27

A quarter of British people over 64 believe that Israel treats the Palestinians like the Nazis treated the Jews. Among 18-24 year olds, it is over a third.

Background and Methodology

The twelve statements – which include six relating to Judeophobic antisemitism and six relating to anti-Zionist antisemitism – together comprise the Generalised Antisemitism Scale.

The Generalised Antisemitism Scale was devised by Dr Daniel Allington of King’s College London, Dr David Hirsh of Goldsmiths, and Dr Louise Katz (then) of the University of Derby. The research behind the Generalised Antisemitism Scale has been peer reviewed.

In particular, in developing the Generalised Antisemitism Scale, they were guided by the International Definition of Antisemitism, which Campaign Against Antisemitism, together with other Jewish communal institutions from around the world, has long campaigned to be widely adopted. Further background on the Generalised Antisemitism Scale can be found here.

Our survey of British adults were conducted by YouGov Plc. The surveys were administered online to members of YouGov’s panel of over 1,000,000 British adults who have agreed to take part in surveys. E-mails were sent to adult panellists who fulfilled the requirements of the sample, inviting them to take part in the surveys, and providing a link to the survey. YouGov normally achieves a response rate of between 35% and 50% to surveys however this does vary depending on the subject matter, complexity and length of the questionnaire.

Total sample size was 2,084 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 8th-11th December 2023 by YouGov plc. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

YouGov ensured that there were no duplicate responses and that all respondents were adults living in Great Britain.

The responding sample was weighted according to age and gender, social grade, political attention level, education, and region, in addition to past voting behaviour, to provide a representative reporting sample. The profile is derived from the Census as well as the mid-year population estimates and Annual Population Survey published by the Office for National Statistics.

It may be a new year, but sadly what we are seeing on our streets is still the same old hate.

Last week, there was an illegal anti-Israel protest, which our Demonstration and Event Monitoring Unit captured on film, and during the week there were genocidal calls outside the Houses of Parliament. Yesterday, there was another large protest, which our volunteers also monitored.

But even as these demonstrations take place week after week, the Mayor of London has failed to speak out and take action. Perhaps Sadiq Khan did not want to provoke the ire of antisemites, as the Mayor of Bristol did when he expressed solidarity with the victims of Hamas terror.

But Mr Khan is also London’s equivalent of a police and crime commissioner. He is the elected official in charge of policing in our capital city at a time when 90% of British Jews say that they are feeling intimidated and bullied into staying out of city centres, according to our representative polling of the Jewish community.

This weekend, Campaign Against Antisemitism called on the Mayor finally to speak out against the marches on our streets that regularly feature antisemitism, glorification of terrorism and incitement to intifada.

The Mayor is not above criticism. After all, why is it that it is okay to criticise the Mayor over, say, knife crime but not okay to criticise him over antisemitic hate crime? Why do some people seem to think Jewish Londoners do not have a right to expect solidarity and action from their city’s mayor at a time of record antisemitism?

There seems to be a cynical double standard, which we do not accept. We will continue to hold politicians and police chiefs to account, without fear or favour.

100 days in captivity

Today, British Jews have gathered at Trafalgar Square to mark 100 days since the brutal Hamas terror attack.

Contrary to the claims of antisemites, Zionism and a strong connection to Israel are core to the identity of most British Jews. Over the winter break, we published polling that shows that a near-unanimous 97% of British Jews feel personally connected to events happening in Israel, and eight in ten British Jews consider themselves to be a Zionist. Only six percent do not. That is why so many turned out today.

For 100 days, the hostages taken by Hamas have been held in captivity by the terrorist organisation, in unimaginable conditions.

Among them is Kfir Bibas, who turns one year old this month.

Campaign Against Antisemitism is proud to join the call of the Jewish community and its allies to Bring Them Home!

Parliament acts

This week has seen a variety of welcome developments in the House of Commons:

  • The Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill passed its third reading. Once it becomes law, it will ban public bodies from imposing their boycotts, divestment, or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries. Year after year, our polling has shown that an overwhelming majority of British Jews consider the tactics of the BDS campaign to be intimidatory.
  • MPs debated a proposal by Nickie Aiken MP relating to the contribution of British Jews to our country. Campaign Against Antisemitism provided a submission to all MPs in advance of the debate.
  • Andrew Percy MP raised the critical issue of antisemitism in schools. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak agreed that “there is no place for antisemitism or the glorification of terrorism in Britain, especially not in our classrooms.”

Our volunteers also met with MPs this week, and our Policy Unit continues to engage with parliamentarians and the Government on a regular basis as part of our policy advocacy.

Wiley performance cancelled

You may recall that, in 2020, the rapper Richard Cowie, known as Wiley, published antisemitic and potentially criminal posts on social media. Numerous platforms suspended his accounts in response to the scandal.

Campaign Against Antisemitism continues to seek criminal prosecution against Mr Cowie in relation to these posts, which he published from abroad.

In the meantime, we have made every effort to prevent his hate from being normalised. This week, for example, we wrote to a venue that was due to feature him in a gig. Following our correspondence, he has been dropped from the lineup.

New polling by Campaign Against Antisemitism has revealed a number of startling insights.

  • 69% of British Jews say that they are less likely to show visible signs of their Judaism right now.
  • Almost half of British Jews have considered leaving the UK due to antisemitism, since 7th October.
  • More than six in ten British Jews have either personally experienced or witnessed an antisemitic incident since 7th October or know somebody who has.
  • Only 16% of British Jews believe that the police treat antisemitic hate crime like other forms of hate crime, with two thirds believing that the police apply a double standard.
  • A staggering 90% of British Jews say that they would avoid travelling to a city centre if a major anti-Israel demonstration was taking place there. Our urban centres have become no-go zones for Jews.
  • A full 95% of British Jews believe that the Crown Prosecution Service should report statistics on prosecutions of antisemitic hate crimes.
  • 90% of the Jewish community believes that the British Government should proscribe Hizb ut-Tahrir.
  • With regard to political parties, 62% of British Jews – almost two thirds – believe that the Labour Party is too tolerant of antisemitism among its MPs, MEPs, councillors, members and supporters. This is the lowest score for Labour in years, but still puts it firmly ahead of the next parties: the SNP (47%) and the Green Party (42%).
  • 86% of British Jews are not satisfied with the BBC’s coverage of the Israel-Hamas crisis. Only 4% are satisfied.
  • A near-unanimous 97% of British Jews feel personally connected to events happening in Israel.
  • Eight in ten British Jews consider themselves to be a Zionist. Only six percent do not.

Fieldwork was conducted between 12th and 17th November 2023. In total, 3,744 responses were obtained. The full results and methodology are provided below.

Full results

“Since 7th October 2023, I am less likely to show visible signs of my Judaism when I go out, for example a Star of David or a Jewish skullcap (kippah).”

  • Strongly Agree 40%
  • Agree 29%
  • Neither Agree nor Disagree 16%
  • Disagree 9%
  • Strongly Disagree 6%

“Since 7th October 2023, I have considered leaving the UK due to antisemitism.”

  • Strongly Agree 17%
  • Agree 31%
  • Neither Agree nor Disagree 18%
  • Disagree 20%
  • Strongly Disagree 14%

Have you or someone you know experienced or witnessed an antisemitic incident since 7th October 2023

  • Yes 61%
  • No 39%

“Antisemitic hate crime is treated by the police in the same way as other forms of hate crime.”

  • Strongly Agree 5%
  • Agree 11%
  • Neither Agree nor Disagree 18%
  • Disagree 34%
  • Strongly Disagree 32%

“I would avoid travelling to a city centre if a major anti-Israel demonstration was taking place there.”

  • Strongly Agree 74%
  • Agree 16%
  • Neither Agree nor Disagree 4%
  • Disagree 4%
  • Strongly Disagree 2%

“The Crown Prosecution Service should report statistics on prosecutions of antisemitic hate crimes.”

  • Strongly Agree 70%
  • Agree 25%
  • Neither Agree nor Disagree 4%
  • Disagree 1%
  • Strongly Disagree 0%

“The British Government should proscribe Hizb ut-Tahrir.”

  • Strongly Agree 78%
  • Agree 12%
  • Neither Agree nor Disagree 9%
  • Disagree 0%
  • Strongly Disagree 0%

“Do you feel that any political parties are too tolerant of antisemitism among their MPs, MEPs, councillors, members and supporters? Please select all that apply.”

  • Conservative Party 14%
  • DUP 16%
  • Green Party 42%
  • Labour Party 62%
  • Liberal Democrats 32%
  • Plaid Cymru 21%
  • Reclaim Party 11%
  • Reform Party 12%
  • SNP 47%
  • Sinn Féin 32%
  • UKIP 16%
  • None 2%
  • Don’t know 26%

“Overall, I am satisfied with the BBC’s coverage of the Israel-Hamas crisis.”

  • Strongly Disagree 71%
  • Disagree 15%
  • Neither Agree nor Disagree 4%
  • Agree 3%
  • Strongly Agree 1%
  • I do not watch or listen to the BBC or read its website 6%

“I feel personally connected to events happening in Israel.”

  • Strongly Disagree 0%
  • Disagree 0%
  • Neither Agree nor Disagree 2%
  • Agree 19%
  • Strongly Agree 78%

“I consider myself to be a Zionist.”

  • Strongly Disagree 2%
  • Disagree 4%
  • Neither Agree nor Disagree 14%
  • Agree 23%
  • Strongly Agree 57%

Survey methodology

Our surveys of British Jews were modelled on the National Jewish Community Survey (NJCS) conducted by the Institute for Jewish Policy research. In common with the NJCS, the samples were self-selecting, and respondents were required to self-identify as Jewish and confirm that they lived in the United Kingdom. Like the NJCS, they were contacted primarily through ‘seed’ organisations, including religious bodies, Jewish online networks (including targeted advertising on social networks), and community welfare organisations, among others. In common with the NJCS, the seed organisations were used to initiate a ‘snowballing’ process which, in effect, created a non-probability convenience sample. It was not possible to use a random probability sampling approach for this study because a suitable sampling frame for the Jewish population is not available in the UK. Fieldwork was conducted between 12th and 17th November 2023. In total, 3,744 responses were obtained. As is the case with the NJCS, the number of unique respondents contacted cannot be determined due to the likely overlap between different ‘seed’ organisations’ supporter bases, thus we cannot estimate the survey response rate.

A key issue with an online survey is to ensure that respondents are not counted twice. To avoid this and other abuses that might affect the survey’s integrity, several measures were implemented. These included: carefully monitoring responses for unusual trends during the fieldwork phase, and assessing the completed dataset for the presence of extreme or unrealistic values (i.e. outlier diagnostics) and for the presence of unlikely combinations of values across variables (i.e. logical checks). Additionally, cookies were used to avoid respondents completing the survey more than once. Finally, respondents’ IP addresses were logged so that if a respondent deleted their cookies, multiple responses from the same IP address could still be identified. As a result, duplicate responses were kept to a minimum and ultimately, removed from the sample.

Our survey is modelled on best practice established by NJCS. All surveys have their shortcomings, and ours shares the shortcomings of NJCS. Even surveys that are based on probability sampling are typically affected by high levels of non- response. Surveys of populations lacking sampling frames, such as this one, are particularly challenging, as is establishing their representativeness. Nevertheless, because we have extremely high-quality baseline statistics available in the UK, it is possible to both accurately weight the data and make reasonable assumptions about where they may depart from the ‘true’ picture. In general, the survey samples reflect the diverse character of Jewish respondents in the UK across geographical, demographic and religious variables. Where the sample does depart from baseline characteristics, responses were weighted for location, gender, age and religious affiliation. Population estimates were based on responses to the 2021 Census in England and Wales and the 2022 Census in Scotland where that data is available, and otherwise on responses to the 2011 Census, and size estimates with regard to religious denominations were based on the NCJS 2013. The weights were calculated using random iterative method weighting by an external consultant.

A new survey has found that nearly one-third of Jewish students in the United States have experienced or witnessed antisemitism on campus. 

The survey showed that 14% of Jewish students had experienced antisemitism directly on campus and 16% of Jewish students had witnessed antisemitism on campus. 

The survey was conducted by Jewish on Campus, a group led by Jewish students that “seek[s] to end antisemitism on college campuses and beyond”. 

Responses in the survey also showed that 84% of Jewish students felt that antisemitism is a threat to the United States. 

In the study, 1,000 Jewish students and a further sample of 2,000 students more generally were surveyed. 

Julia Jassey, the Chief Executive Officer of Jewish on Campus, said in a statement: “As the new school year begins, these findings provide key evidence of the breadth and depth of antisemitism students face.” 

She added that universities and students should “meet this moment and take antisemitism seriously.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism reports on news and incidents relating to antisemitism throughout the United States.

As the new academic year approaches, Campaign Against Antisemitism can reveal that 43 universities in Britain have still not properly adopted, or have expressly refused to adopt, the International Definition of Antisemitism.

The number of universities that have adopted the Definition in full, including the eleven integral examples, and have not adopted any other qualifying or competing language, is 134. However, the rate of adoption is slowing, with our research indicating that the most recent adoption may have been as far back as March 2022. The latest information, which is updated in real time, can be found at antisemitism.org/universities.

Among those universities that have not adopted, some have not provided any cogent reasons, such as the University of Brighton and the University of Wales Trinity St David.

Brighton University, for example, told us: “A Race and Faith commission was set up following discussions at the Academic Board and Board of Governors on the subject of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. The Commission recommended that the University should not adopt the definition.”

This Commission relied on work by the UCL Academic Board, which even the UCL leadership has not followed (UCL has adopted the Definition), input from the University and College Union (UCU), which is a staunch opponent of the Definition and whose reputation in the Jewish community is in the gutter, and Prof. David Feldman, a former Deputy Chair of the whitewash Chakrabarti Inquiry into antisemitism in the Labour Party and whose advocacy against the Definition has been grossly counter-productive to the fight against antisemitism.

Some universities claimed that, while they have not adopted the Definition, they nonetheless ‘use’ it, including Cardiff University, Edinburgh Napier University and the University of South Wales.

Others insisted that their existing policies already cover antisemitism and therefore adoption is not necessary, such as Kingston University, Robert Gordon University and SOAS University of London.

SOAS, for example, told us: “While SOAS University of London has not adopted the IHRA definition, we stand firmly against antisemitism, as we do against all forms of discrimination. Our SOAS Charter on Racism, Antisemitism and All Forms of Cultural, Ethnic and Religious Chauvinism makes a clear, demonstrable commitment to every member of staff and every student that we will not tolerate any form of racism or religious chauvinism, and that we will maintain an inclusive space for every member of our community.”

Readers will draw their own conclusions as to the strength of SOAS’s commitment to standing against antisemitism, in light of its appalling record.

Some universities have not adopted the Definition, because it does not cover all faith groups. These include Ravensbourne University London, Swansea University and the University for the Creative Arts.

The University of St Andrews has decided not to adopt the Definition because it believes that it is polarising to adopt only this definition of antisemitism. The University of Greenwich has gone further, adopting both the Definition and the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism. The Jerusalem Declaration is a wrecking document intended to undermine the globally-recognised Definition. Any university that has adopted it alongside the Definition or an amended version of the Definition (for example by omitting the eleven integral examples), such as Greenwich University or Goldsmiths, University of London, cannot be said to have adopted the Definition. Campaign Against Antisemitism recently submitted evidence to an inquiry into antisemitism at Goldsmiths.

The arguments that these universities have deployed to justify their failure to adopt the Definition do not hold water. Those that claim that their existing policies render the Definition unnecessary misunderstand its purpose: the Definition is not a policy on antisemitism but a definition of antisemitism. Existing policies can detail how antisemitism is treated; they cannot identify it. For that, the Definition is needed.

The claim, meanwhile, that the Definition can have a “chilling effect” on freedom of expression or inhibits criticism of Israel are also baseless canards. The Definition, which is context-specific, states clearly that “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.” Moreover, as Campaign Against Antisemitism has shown, the Definition does not at all conflict with freedom of expression under law, and indeed a 2023 report into antisemitism in higher education found that, of 56 universities asked, none knew of a single example in which their adoption of the Definition had in any way restricted or chilled freedom of expression or academic research.

These excuses are wearing thin, particularly as antisemitism on campuses is rising. CST reported at the beginning of this year that there has been a 22% increase in university-related reported antisemitic hate incidents over the past two academic years, while polling conducted in 2021 by Campaign Against Antisemitism showed that 92% of British Jews believe that antisemitism in British universities is a problem.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “We commend the vast majority of British universities that have chosen to show solidarity with Jewish students and do their part in the fight against anti-Jewish racism by adopting the International Definition of Antisemitism. It is appalling that a minority of universities continue to take the opposite course, and it is astonishing that they persist in providing excuses that have already been debunked years ago. These universities are bowing to pressure by those who either fail to appreciate the gravity of contemporary antisemitism or do not have the interests of British Jews at heart. It is cowardly. They must urgently revisit their positions.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism will continue to monitor the adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism by universities.

If any students are concerned about antisemitism on campus or need assistance, they can call us on 0330 822 0321, or e-mail [email protected]