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What are the reasons for Anti Semitism in Britain in the new millennium from 2000 onwards Essay

What are the reasons for Anti-Semitism in Britain in the new millennium from 2000 onwards


       This research seeks to identify the relationship between Jews living within Britain and anti-Semitism. The research is intended to unearth whether or not anti Semitism exists in Britain today and if so in what ways it affects the Jewish community, also are the reasons for this hatred the same as they were during the holocaust or is there a new type of Anti-Semitism among us. The concept of this research is based on a notion that anti-Semitism is still rife within Britain but not many seem to notice it.

       It will identify whether anti-Semitism in Britain is on the rise and whether this has anything to do with a growth in the Jewish population or just something that has always been present within Britain. Does the rise in Anti- Semitism pose a serious threat to the Jewish population? This essay will focus on Anti Semitism within different aspects of British life and see whether or not something can be done to try and stop it. It will mainly focus on the religious social and political aspects of anti-Semitism and explore the reasoning behind these factors.

Purpose of the study

       The purpose of this study is to get an understanding of Anti-Semitism and how it relates to Britain as an area of study. This research aspires to answer questions and gather conclusions that may have not been looked at before. This research aims to get a deeper understanding for the reasons why Anti-Semitism exists in Britain with a Jewish population of only 1%. The role of the study is to make a contribution into the wider research into Anti-Semitism in Britain and compile research that will help to answer some of the questions outlined in the research problem.

       The term Anti-Semitism coined by Wilhelm Marr in 1873 in Germanyto describe the anti Jewish campaigns in Europe at the time, has become a word that we are all familiar with today but with a completely different meaning as to what it was intended for. Although there is no universally agreed definition of the term, in more complex or deeper understandings “Anti-Semitism is hatred toward Jews and is directed toward the Jewish religion, Jews as people, or more recently the Jewish state. Anti-Semitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm non-Jews and is often used to give an explanation for why things go wrong. It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action and regularly employs stereotypes” (Pollack, 2008: P.8)This thesis will be using the definition by stern in order to assess the prominence of anti-Semitism in Britain as it encompasses many different aspects. Within the subject of anti Semitism as we see from Sterns definition of the term there can be several types of Anti-Semitism which include but are not limited to, religious Anti-Semitism, race based Anti-Semitism political Anti-Semitism as well as anti Semitism within society as a whole in terms of education, the media and also in terms of the differences between what people say and what they actually do.

Aim and objectives

       This thesis will look at anti Semitism in Britain from 2000 onwards and will try and analyze in which forms that it exists the most and potentially what can be done in order for it be reduced. Is anti-Semitism on the rise in Britain and is there something being done about it, also is the anti-Semitism that exists today the same as it was during Nazi Germany, as well as understanding whether there is a difference between anti Zionism and anti Semitism,all these questions are important when trying to understand anti Semitism within the context of Britain.

       This essay will address what anti Semitism is and the theories behind it as well as look at the history of anti Semitism within Britain and then finally look at the different aspects of British life in which anti Semitism is present, namely in politics, the media and also in religious aspects.


       In order to answer the above question on the existence of anti Semitism in Britain, research must be carried out on the theoretical frameworks that might be in place in order for anti Semitism to exist and therefore be on the rise. Qualitative as well as quantitative data must be collected to get specific ideas of how anti- Semitism is dealt with in the new millennium in Britain. Qualitative research methodswill be appropriate methods to use as they are concerned with collecting and analysing data in non-numeric form (Blaxter, Hughes & Tight, 1996) and can form the basis of the literature review as well as part of a questionnaire that deals with open ended questions on the anti sematic related issues. Sources such as Journals, books and articles surveys and monitoring reports will be used to conduct the research and draw up conclusions. Quantitative research analysis will also be important in gaining an understanding of the research as it will allow it to put figures into perspective, percentages and numbers will be used to highlight major points across the research. Although both primary and secondary research will be used to conduct this research it is important to state that the research is more focused on secondary data analysis to assess the extent of anti-Semitism in Britain.

       Chapter 1: What is Anti –SemitismThe definition of anti-Semitism as stated in the introductionsimply put is hatred towards Jews, but the community security trust describes it as “pseudoscientific racial discrimination against Jews” often called the longest hatred. As we have identified there are many types of anti- Semitism and throughout history there have been forms which include “religious, nationalist, economic and racial biological, Jews have been blamed for many phenomena including the death of Jesus; the Black Death, the advent of liberalism, democracy, communism and capitalism and for inciting numerous revolutions and wars.” (cst) with this said it necessary to point out that although it may be difficult to differentiate between anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and anti-Israel they are not the same as it is not anti-sematic to criticize Israel or Zionism even if the criticism is harsh. Anti-Zionism describes hostile attitudes towards Jewish self-determination and the Israel as a Jewish state

       Anti-Semitism as we have seen can take up many forms and within these forms it can be overt or covert.

Chapter 2: The history of Anti-Semitism in Britain: Literature review

       Evidence of Jews in Britain has been available since the late 11th century when William the conqueror brought Jews from Rouen to London and thus this is where known evidence of their presence in Britain begins. It is therefore important that when analyzing Anti-Semitism in Britain today that we look at the roots that it has had in the country.

       Anthony Julius in his book trials of a diaspora outlines the four types of English Anti-Semitism namely: anti-Semitism of medieval England, literary anti-Semitism, modern English anti -Semitism and the mentality of modern English anti-Semitism. In medieval English anti-Semitism we see that the first Anglo Jewish community consisted of French Jews who arrived in the wake of the Norman conquest, this Jewish community lasted for 200 years before expulsion in England began and the Jews became the property of the king and wider anti-Semitism within Europe began.

       In Lara Trubowitz book she refers to Anti-Semitism as “civil anti-Semitism” and talks about it in literature and culture (Marendy, 2005:p23). The reason she refers to anti Semitism as civil is because from the early 18th century through to the Second World War “overt bigotry is seen as objectionable. Anti Semitism becomes a style of speech or writing best understood and critized in rhetorical and narrative terms, an elaborate or even tortuous compromise between rival traditions of hatred and politesse” ( reference)it is clear from her writing that even as early as the 18th century issues of anti Semitism were still prominent in Britain. There was an influx of eastern European Jews to Britain in the 1880’s and 1890’s which gave rise to anti immigration in 1904 and 1905 and the rise of anti Semitism in publications during the 1920s for example Virginia Woolf’swriting about Victor Rothschild a British Jewish aristocrat and she used words such as “his fleshy and vulgar Jewishness”. (Reference) Even television suffered forms of anti-Semitism as Jon Stratton in his sitcom writes of “Jewish moments” whereJewish tendencies are not limited to Jews but characteristics that one may possess.


       The persistence of prejudice: antisemitism in British society during the Second World War by Antony Robin Jeremy Kushner

       Civil anti Semitism, modernism and british culture 1902-1939 By Lara TrubowitzTrials of the diaspora Anthony Julius

Chapter 3: Anti Semitism in Religion

       In order to get an understanding of the background of anti-Semitism we have to look at were it first originated from and what caused it to evolve so strongly.

       Religious anti Semitism being the oldest form of Anti-Semitism dates back to biblical times when Christians and Jews first began their divisions in faith, and as Christianity spread so did the hatred for Jews (Stern, K.S 2006). With this said religious Anti-Semitism was one of the first forms of Anti-Semitism and therefore is the foundation of Anti-Semitism today even though Christianity has moved on from this the world at large still bases its history of Anti-Semitism on religion (Albanis, 2010: P21).

       Anti-Semitism in twenty first century is based on anti racism. For centuries, Christians saw Jews like Jesus Christ murderers. When the Jewish temple was destroyed, it was believed that that was the judgment of God towards the Jews for the death of Christ. In Britain, contemporary anti-Semitism continues to become more complex and multifaceted. It is carried out in different ways making it hard to identify. Ant-Semitic acts of violence and abuse are directed towards jews. and words are used. The media, individuals, leaders and organization continue to use words that portray anti-Semitism in religious circles

       The level of anti-Semitism has risen in the twenty first century due to trigger events. Some of these events are not always related to Middle East or the Israeli. They include conflict between Hamas and Israel in Gaza, terrorist shooting in Ozar Hatoral Jewish school in France, Lebanon war in 2006, 9/11 terrorist attack in 2001, Intifada in 2000 and the Iraq war in 2003. These incidences caused many anti-Semitic cases in Britain. Different people are influenced by different trigger events. Perpetrators of anti-Semitism are people who already have the capacity of carrying out such incidences

       British Muslim community exhibit anti-Semitism which is facilitated by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Melanie Philips in November, 2007 wrote in David Horowitz that synagogues services and all Jews communal events need security officers because they face attacks from Muslim extremist and neo Nazis. Israeli strained relationship with Palestine has created a good climate for radicalism among the British Muslim community. The second cause of hatred towards Jews in Britain is the invasion of Iraq in early 2003. The new anti-Semitism resemble Nazi style hatred and it is masked in anti-Zionism because anti-Zionism is not seen as anti-Semitism (Gudkov, 2013:P25).

       On 20 December, 2010 a former president of the University of London Union called Clare Solomon, was forced to resign from her position due to her posting on Face book: ‘The view that Jews have been persecuted all throughout history is one that has been fabricated in the last 100 or so years to justify the persecution of Palestinians. To paint the picture that all Jews have always had to flee persecution is just plainly inaccurate.’ Clare tried to deny that there was no anti- Semitism.

       Another incidence that reveals anti-Semitism in Britain in 2010 is a incidence where a text book in a weekend school was found to have anti-Semitic ideas. It contained claims that Jews were changed into pigs and apes which was a penalty for sodomy. On 18th August, 2010, Linden Barrington in the area of Walsaw was assaulted because of his decision to join Judaism. Youth from his residence attacked him when he tried to document their behavior (Albanis, 2010: P60).

       According to the Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism incidences of anti-Semitism were more in year 2012 than in 2011. They included desecration of and damage to Jewish property, violent attacks, verbal harassment, spraying of blasphemous inscriptions and hate mail. In December 2012, a vehicle that was passing near a congregation outside a synagogue three a bottle to them. Nobody was hurt in this incidence because the bottle hit the ground. The same year, it is reported that on 13th November, Pro-Palestinian activists in Birmingham Hippodrome used racial slurs to an Israeli dance company. The activist were arrested on the same day but later released without any charge. Other recorded incidences include a Jew who was attacked by people of Asian ethnicity in Manchester in October 2012. It was also reported that on 21st August the same year, a brick was thrown at a synagogue that smashed festival windows in Birmingham.

       From the ninth century, Jews were classified by the medieval Islamic world as dhimmi. They were allowed to practice Jewish religion freely. This freedom ended when Muslim pogroms took place in Peninsula. Several decrees were enacted that ordered the destruction of synagogues in Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Iraq from the 11th century. Jews were forced to denounce their religion in parts of Yemen, Baghdad and Morocco many times between 12th and 18th centuries. In 1147, Almohads took control of the Andalusia and Almoravids’ Maghribi territories. They started treating dhimmis harshly than their predecessors because they were fundamentalist in their outlook. Many Jews and Christians were forced to emigrate since they were faced with choices of death or conversion. They fled places that were more tolerant.

       Jews were persecuted in many places in Europe during the middle ages. They were persecuted with blood libels, forced conversions, massacres and expulsion. The main justification for these prejudices was religion. Thousands of jews in Europe were murdered during the First Crusade in 1096. The second crude in Germany left many Jews dead. They were also subjected to attacks in Shepherd’s Crusaders in 1251. Crusades were followed by expulsion of over 100, 000 Jews in France, Austria and banishing of all English Jews. In mid 14th century, Black Death epidemic devastated European countries who used Jews as Scapegoats. Rumor were peddled that Jews caused the diseases by poisoning wells. This led to the destruction of hundreds of Jewish Communities. Pope Clement V1’s efforts to issue two papal bulls in order to help jews did not bear any fruit. 800 Jews were burned in Strasbourg at a time when the disease had not affected the city in 1348.

       Throughout 19th century and the 21st century, Roman Catholic Church in Britain continued to incorporate strong anti-Semitic elements, this happened in spite of increasing efforts to separate the opposition to the Jewish religion on racial anti-Semitism and religious grounds. Pope Pius VII (1800–1823) made the walls of the Jewish residence in Rome rebuilt after Napoleon released the Jews. Jews were however restricted in 1870to the Ghetto through the end of the Papal States.

       Further, official organizations like the Jesuits banned any candidate who a descended from the Jewish race unless it was made clear that his or her father, grandfather, and great-grandfather belonged to the Roman Catholic Church until 2005. Scholars such as David Kertzer working from the England archive pointed out that in the 20th century and in early twentieth century, Roman Catholic Church made a clear distinction between good anti-Semitism and bad anti-Semitism. Bad anti-Semitism advanced hatred of Jews based on their decent. This is un-Christian since Christianity is intended for all humanity regardless of one’s ethnicity and anyone can be a Christian. Good anti-Semitism criticized claims of Jewish conspiracy of controlling banks, newspaper and other institutions in order to accumulate wealth. Catholic bishops wrote articles that criticized Jews on these grounds. When they were accused of promoting hatred towards the Jews, they said they condemned the “bad” anti-Semitism.

Chapter 4: Anti Semitism in politics

       Anti Semitism in politics refers to hatred toward Jews based on beliefs that Jews seek national and world power. A new form of anti-Semitism has evolved in Britain called left-wing anti-Semitism. The new form of anti-Semitism has survived through mutation. Previously, hatred of Jews was viewed from the perspective of economy. From the beginning of twenty first century, the has been a gradual shift from this outlook towards politics. Seeing Jews as economic agents has been replaced with the idea that Israel is used by America for it to remain powerful in the world. Islamic movements in Britain and beyond are opposed to this kind of hegemony

       Hatred toward Jews has shifted from the identity. There has been increase in opposition of security policies of Israel. Islamic movements in Britain question the very legitimacy of Israel. The ideologies of the new anti-semitism in United Kingdom is Jewish conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial. Criticism towards Israel is increased due to invasion of Iraq in year 2003 (Hartmann, 2011:p20).

       United Kingdom parliament set a parliamentary inquiry in 2004 to investigate anti-Semitism incidences in UK. It made public its finding in 2006 where they revealed that “until recently, the prevailing opinion both within the Jewish community and beyond [had been] that anti-Semitism had receded to the point that it existed only on the margins of society.” (Kaufman, 2008:p12).

       On January 2006, UK chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks stated that “Let me state the point as simplify as I can: anti-Semitism is alive, active and virulent in the year 2002, after more than half a century of Holocaust education, interfaith dialogue, United Nations’ declarations, dozens of museums and memorials, hundreds of films, thousands of courses, and tens of thousands of books dedicated to exposing its evils; after the Stockholm Conference, after the creation of a National Holocaust Memorial Day, after 2,000 religious leaders came together in the United Nations in August 2000 to commit themselves to fight hatred and engender mutual respect. . . .What more could have been done? What more could and can we do to fight anti-Semitism?” (Kaufman, 2008:p46). He argued that British Jews consider themselves as British citizen and hence they should not be subjected to discrimination.

       Jews were subject to a range of restrictions in European history. Christian in UK required Jews and Muslims believers to wear special attire, like the Jude hut that they traditionally wore by choice. Jews were require to have a yellow badge to distinguish them from Christians. Jewish religion was restricted many times and they were forced to swear special oaths. They were not permitted to vote and countries like Norway, Sweden and Spain prohibited their entry in 15th century (Hartmann, 2011:p10).

Chapter 5: Anti Semitism in society

       Anti-Semitism is seen to manifests in overt and subtle ways in places where sizeable Jewish communities live and where few Jews are located. Anti-Semitic crimes include acts of violence such as terrorist attacks against Jewish community, desecration and destruction of Jewish property like synagogues and cemeteries. Anti-Semitic rhetoric, conspiracy theories and other propaganda are circulated widely and rapidly through satellite television, radios and the Internet. Traditional forms of anti-Semitism continue to persist and can be found all over the globe.

       Classic anti-Semitic screeds like Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion remain commonplace. Jews continues to be blamed for a blood libel, dual loyalty,undue influence on government policies and the media, the symbols and images that are associated with an age-old form of anti-Semitism endure. These forms fo anti-Semitism are mostly link with fascism and Nazism and are considered unacceptable by democratic nations of North America, Western Europe especially in UK and beyond. However, they are accepted and used by extreme fringe. A new form of anti-Semitism has evolved that incorporates some elements of traditional anti-Semitism (Fields, 2008:p12).

       The new anti-Semitism is a sharp criticism of Zionism or Israeli policy. It has the effect of intentionally or unintentionally promotes prejudice against Jews through demonizing Israeli and attributing its faults to Israeli Jewish character. This new form of prejudice is common in Middle East and Muslim communities in Europe but not confined to these populations only.

       United Nation bodies are required to report atrocities and other violation of human rights of Jewish community. The purpose of setting up such bodies is to report on the assumed ongoing abusive Israeli behavior. The motive of these actions is to show countries in Middle east that there better ways of addressing concerns apart from. Modern anti-Semitism escape condemnation because it is perpetrated as criticism of Zionism or Israeli. Israeli practices must however be subjected to scrutiny because they may prompt hatred of Jews (Fields, 2008:p22).

       At times hatred toward Israel has resulted to physical violence that is directed to Jews in general. For example, there were anti-Semitic incidents all over the world during the conflict between Israel and Hizballah in the summer of 2006. Governments recognize societal anti-Semitism but instead of fighting it, some leaders encourage it within their county and beyond their borders. President Mahmud Ahmadinejad known to actively promote Holocaust denial. Jewish population in Iran faces official discrimination, and the Iranian official media regularly produce anti-Semitic propaganda.

       The government of Syria routinely demonizes Jewish community through publicStatements and propaganda. State enterprises in Belarus freely produce and distributeanti-Semitic material. President Hugo Chavez publicly demonizes Israeli. He uses stereotypes about Israeli financial control and influence while the country’s media has also been propagating anti-Semitism. Government sponsored mass media in Egypt and Saudi Arable have also been propagating hatred of jews.

       In France, the United Kingdom, Germany and elsewhere, anti-Semitic incidences remains a significant concern. Increases in anti-Semitic violence have been documented in Argentina, Canada, Australia, South Africa and beyond. Holocaust is a current event today sixty year after the Holocaust. Terrorist threats and attacks directed to Jewish communities globally has often been linked to Islamist terrorist groups. Terrorist groups in the name of jihad, have made their intentions clear of attacking Jews and Jewish targets. Some of the terrorist attacks have been linked to state sponsors (Herf, 2009:p24).

       Significant incident include Buenos Aires, Argentina, on July 18, 1994, where the most lethal anti-Semitic attack on Jews since World War II happened when terrorists attacked Argentina Jewish Mutual Association, which accommodated the Argentine Jewish Federatio. 85 people were killed and more that 150 injured On October, 2006, an Argentine Federal Special Prosecuting Unit that was investigating the bombing concluded that the incidence was planned and financed by Iranian government of Iran and that the attack was carried out with operational aid from local Iranian diplomats and Hizballah. On November, 2006, arrest warrant for nine individuals in the prosecutor’s indictments list of was issued by Argentine judges. The Interpol Executive Committee recommended the issuance of international capture notices for suspects wanted for the AMIA bombing. This decision was however appealed by Iranian government but INTERPOL General Assembly upheld the INTERPOL Executive Committee’s decision to capture former Iranian officials involved in the bombing (Herf, 2009:p20).

       On 27 October 2013, a former British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw said that unlimited funds would be made available to Jewish organisations and lobbies. It will be given to bodies such as AIPAC in the US which are used in controlling and diverting American policies in Arab countries. He also argued that the obsession of Germany in defending Israel is a contributing factor that leads to failure to achieve lasting peace. People interpreted his statements as anti-Semitic because they resemble the old antisemitic stereotype which argued that Jews control the world with their wealth (Sperber, 2013:P.102).

       All over the world, responsible governments, nongovernmental groups, intergovernmental organizations, religious leaders, other respected figures, ordinary men and women are busy working in order to reverse the trends. However, a lot needs to be done in areas of education, legislation, tolerance promotion and law enforcement before anti-Semitism, with all its ugly forms can finally be ended.


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