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in Britain 2015
The text and illustrations may only be reproduced with prior permission of CST.
Published by Community Security Trust, copyright 2016.
Registered charity in England and Wales (1042391) and Scotland (SC043612)

The cover picture of this CST Antisemitic Discourse The allegation of Jewish conspiracy has been made
Report is taken from the website of David Icke, a against the Rothschild banking family since the early
former TV presenter who is now one of Britains nineteenth century. The accusation has persisted ever
leading conspiracy theorists. Ickes books and since, but is now gaining new popularity, as shown
speaking tours are highly popular in New Age circles, by the cover picture of this Discourse Report and
in which adherents seek alternative political and another image tweeted by a member of the Scottish
spiritual explanations for todays modern world. Parliament, shown on p25.

The picture itself is both anti-Israel and antisemitic. The allegation that ISIS is a Jewish, or Zionist, or
It is utterly modern, but is rooted in old antisemitic Israeli plot is also increasingly popular and is within
themes of Jewish conspiracy and duplicity. These right wing, left wing, New Age and Islamist settings.
themes were codified in the notorious antisemitic This CST Antisemitic Discourse Report contains
forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which examples of the ISIS allegation being tweeted by a
claims to reveal a supposed Jewish conspiracy to Labour Party councillor (p20), an Evening Standard
control the world through control of war, finance, columnist (p28) and a leading UK Islamist group (p34).
politics, media and culture. The picture shows Israels
Prime Minister using ISIS terrorists as his puppets. The image on the left shows a Spanish Protocols
Looking down on this are the faces of Queen edition, from 1930. A Jewish financier uses his claws
Elizabeth II and Lord Rothschild, each stamped with a to squeeze blood from the world. The blood then
Jewish Star of David. turns into money. The title states The invisible world
Government. The Jewish programme to subjugate
the world.

The Protocols contains old antisemitic themes that

still resonate, impact and evolve in modern politics,
media and discourse (including the Rothschild and
ISIS allegations mentioned above).
Executive summary ................................................. 4 Sir Gerald Kaufman MP: Jewish money ........ 20

Introduction .............................................................. 6 May 2015 General Election and Ed Miliband MP 22

Survey, would Britain accept a Jewish
Antisemitic discourse and antisemitism ............ 7 Prime Minister? ..................................................... 22
The Sun and Daily Mail headlines ................ 22
UK Jewish life: Katie Hopkins (Sun columnist) ........................ 23
putting antisemitism into context ....................... 8 Suspended Conservative council candidate:
the Jew Miliband .............................................. 23
What is antisemitism? UKIP parliamentary candidate suspended for
Background and concepts .................................... 9 antisemitism and racism ......................................... 24

Antisemitism: legal definitions ............................. 11 Scottish National Party (SNP) apology:

antisemitic Rothschild picture ............................. 25
British Jews: SNP .......................................................................... 25
relationship with Zionism and Israel ................. 12 Rothschild conspiracy theory ............................ 26

Antisemitism and anti-Zionism ........................... 13 Mira Bar-Hillel .......................................................... 28

Anti-Zionism .............................................................. 13 Reactions to terror attacks upon Paris kosher

Jews and anti-Zionism .......................................... 13 store and Copenhagen synagogue ......................... 29
Overview: antisemitic terrorism ........................... 29
Anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel ................... 14 Summary: reactions to Paris and Copenhagen 29
Antisemitic anti-Zionism and BBC News interview ................................................ 31
conspiracy theory ................................................ 14 Channel 4 News interview ..................................... 31
Conservative councillor .......................................... 32
Anti-Zionism: David Ward MP ................................................... 32
a Prejudicial Group-focused enmity ................. 16 Far Left and anti-racist left responses to
Paris terrorism ........................................................ 32
Labour Party controversy ........................................... 17 Lindsey German and the
Opposition to antisemitism and racism .... 17 Stop the War Coalition ........................................... 33
Jewish Chronicle survey ......................................... 18 George Galloway MP and
Seumas Milne smear allegation ....................... 18 Socialist Unity website ............................................ 33
Guardian lead letter: Morning Star newspaper .................................... 33
guided by their Israeli contacts ................... 19 Ahlul Bayt Islamic Mission:
Withdrawal from MEMO event with ISIS conspiracy theory ........................................ 34
Carlos Latuff ........................................................... 19
Councillor suspension and readmission:
ISIS, Mossad, Jews, Zionists .................................. 19
4 Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015

EXPLICIT ANTISEMITISM against Jews per its motivations, content and impacts. This
se, simply for their being Jewish, is rarely is despite most Jews apparently perceiving
voiced in British public life, or in mainstream Jeremy Corbyn himself to not be a Jew-hater.
political and media discourse.
Corbyns victory threatened to rupture the
The relative absence of explicit antisemitism long relationship between British Jews
in mainstream discourse did not, however, and the Labour Party. It was the first time
make the subject of antisemitism unimportant in decades that the risk of estrangement
in 2015. Indeed, the opposite was the case. arose between the mainstream of the Jewish
community and the leadership of either the
The year began with terrorist attacks in Paris Labour or Conservative parties.
(January) and Copenhagen (February), which
included Jewish targets. Next was a UK
General Election (May) in which Ed Miliband, This tweet, apparently in support of
Jeremy Corbyn MP, was directed at his
a Jewish MP, led the Labour Party. Following three opponents in the Labour leadership
which a longstanding critic of Israel, campaign. The accusation of child murder
Jeremy Corbyn MP, became Labour leader is a longstanding antisemitic trope, deriving
(September). from earliest Christian times and persisting
through the Middle Ages. It also features in
modern anti-Israel propaganda.
Each of the above events provided significant
insight into the nature of contemporary
antisemitism, and analysis of these
events comprise the bulk of this 2015 CST
Antisemitic Discourse Report. They give
a deeper understanding of the apparent
contradiction between a relative scarcity of
explicit antisemitism and persisting, or indeed
worsening, concerns about antisemitism.

Jeremy Corbyn MPs successful campaign for

the leadership of the Labour Party saw one
of the most public and sustained discussions
of antisemitism in recent memory. The
mainstream Jewish concerns directed against
Corbyn were strikingly similar to those long There was a welcome relative absence
expressed about the anti-Israel and anti- of antisemitism in the General Election
Zionist left in general, such as its dismissals campaign, despite Ed Miliband MP being
and misrepresentations of mainstream Jewish the Labour leader. Concerns were raised
concerns about antisemitism, and its allying about whether some of the descriptions and
with pro-Hizbollah and pro-Hamas Islamists. headlines about Miliband were in any way
antisemitic, but such interpretations were
The mainly negative Jewish reaction to impossible to prove and Miliband himself
Corbyns victory showed the depth of Jewish avoided any such claims. Polling showed that
fears about anti-Israel politics, including UKIP voters were those most bothered by
what role antisemitism is believed to play in Milibands Jewish identity, with Labour voters
Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015 5

relatively unconcerned, whilst one-third of potential anti-Muslim backlash, whilst saying

voters were unaware of it. nothing about Jews being under attack
from Jihadist terrorists. The attacks also saw
The absence of open antisemitism against further spreading of the claim that ISIS /
Miliband suggests that explicit antisemitism Daesh is a secret Mossad, or Israeli, or Zionist
is simply unacceptable in parliamentary conspiracy against Muslims.
politics and mainstream media. Nevertheless,
the powerful resonance of pejoratively
used terms such as north London and a Here, the leader of ISIS is called a Jew.
photograph of him eating bacon in a clumsy
manner, suggested that Milibands Jewish
background might play a subtle role in
derisive portrayals of him as not one of us.
Thus, the absence of explicit antisemitism
does not mean that its presence in some
form can be discounted completely as a
factor in how prominent Jewish individuals
are portrayed.

The Paris and Copenhagen terrorist

attacks caused UK Jews to fear that they
may be similarly targeted. In response,
the Government provided over 10 million
of further funding for security measures
(primarily commercial security guards), to
be administered by CST on behalf of the
Jewish community. A broad range of political
leaders spoke strongly in defence of Jewish
communities. The latest report of the All-
Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism,
released in February 2015, added further
practical and rhetorical weight to this cross-
party opposition to antisemitism.

These actions against antisemitism were

deeply appreciated by UK Jews, but the
underlying fear of terrorism and wider
antisemitism remained.

This CST Antisemitic Discourse Report

shows that the targeting of Jews in Paris and
Copenhagen seemed to matter less to the
media and general public, than the attacks
on other targets at the same time. Much of
the British anti-racist left warned against a
6 Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015


THIS CST Antisemitic Discourse in Britain report analyses written and verbal communication,
discussion and rhetoric about antisemitism and related issues in Britain during 2015. It is
1. Previous
reports are at the published annually by CST.1
publications page
of the CST website:
Discourse is used in this report to mean communicative action: communication expressed in
2. Paul Iganski speech, written text, images and other forms of expression and propaganda.2
and Abe Sweiry,
and Addressing
the Nazi card: The report concentrates upon mainstream discourse. It cites numerous mainstream publications,
Against Antisemitic
groups and individuals, who are by no means antisemitic, but whose behaviour may impact upon
Discourse. London: attitudes concerning Jews and antisemitism.
European Institute
for the Study of
Antisemitism (2009)

3. CSTs annual
The report is not a survey of marginal or aware when these boundaries have been
Antisemitic clandestine racist, extremist and radical circles, crossed, and because the language used is
Incidents Report,
available at where antisemitism is much more common. more subtle particularly in the contentious area
Where such material is quoted within this of the dividing line between antisemitism and
4. Report of the All-
Party Parliamentary
report, it is usually for comparison with more criticism of Israel or Zionism.5
Inquiry into mainstream sources; or because of the wider
London: The All- influence that such material may have. The 2015 Report of the All-Party Parliamentary
Party Parliamentary
Group Against Inquiry into Antisemitism6 noted the earlier
(September 2006). CST distinguishes antisemitic discourse finding by MPs in the 2006 Report that:
from actual antisemitic incidents and hate
uk/wp-content/ crimes against Jews or Jewish organisations the significance of public discourse is
Parliamentary- and property.3 that it influences attitudes which in turn
Antisemitism- influence actions.
The 2006 Report of the All-Party Parliamentary
5. All-Party Inquiry Inquiry into Antisemitism4 noted the This British Nazi cartoon from 1962 is a stark
into Antisemitism:
Government importance and complexity of antisemitic warning of the potential antisemitic resonance
Response: One year
discourse and urged further study of it. By 2008, of some contemporary mainstream depictions
on Progress Report.
London: The of Zionist or pro-Israel lobbies.
Stationery Office the Parliamentary inquiry process had led to
(12 May 2008), the issuing of the first progress report of the
p.12. http://www.
official-documents. Governments taskforce against antisemitism.
cm73/7381/7381.pdf This stated of antisemitic discourse:
6. Report of the All-
Party Parliamentary Antisemitism in discourse is, by its nature,
Inquiry into
Antisemitism. harder to identify and define than a physical
London: The All-
Party Parliamentary attack on a person or place. It is more easily
Group Against
Antisemitism recognised by those who experience it than by
(September 2006).
those who engage in it.
themes/PCAA/ Antisemitic discourse is also hard to identify
PCAA_ because the boundaries of acceptable
Report_spreads_ discourse have become blurred to the point
v9%20REPRO- that individuals and organisations are not
Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015 7


ANTISEMITIC DISCOURSE influences and reflects hostile attitudes to Jews and Jewish-related
issues. Hostile attitudes can lead to hostile actions and damaging impacts.

Physically, antisemitic discourse may contribute between antisemitic discourse and hostility as:
to an atmosphere in which antisemitic hate
crimes against Jews and Jewish institutions Expressions of anti-Semitism in public
are more likely to occur. Psychologically, it can discourse remain a serious issue of concern
make Jews feel isolated, vulnerable and hurt. as they exacerbate hostile attitudes towards
Jews. They have the potential to fuel anti-
The purpose of this report is to help reduce Semitic incidents, leading to greater insecurity
antisemitism, by furthering the understanding in the Jewish communities and in societies
of antisemitic discourse and its negative across the OSCE region...8
impacts on Jews and society as a whole.

Antisemitic impacts of legitimate

debate and media coverage
Antisemitic impacts may arise from
entirely legitimate situations that have no
antisemitic intention.

Statistics show that hate crimes against

perceived members of any particular group
can be triggered (or exacerbated) by public
discourse or events related to that particular
group. For example, antisemitic incident levels
typically rise in relation to some public events
and stories involving Jews, Jewish institutions,
or Jewish-related subjects such as Israel.7

Negative media coverage of, or political

comment on Jewish-related events may be
entirely legitimate, fair and in the public The notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion
7. Shown repeatedly
interest. Nevertheless, those debates can claims to reveal a supposed secret Jewish in CSTs annual
encourage antisemites or cause concern to conspiracy to take over the world, depicted in Incidents Report.
Jews. This is more likely if such commentary this British version by a Jewish snake circling Also, Paul Iganski,
Vicky Kielinger &
involves inflammatory language or the use of the globe. Susan Paterson,
Hate Crimes
traditional antisemitic imagery, or appears to Against Londons
Jews. London:
single out one particular object or individual Championed by both far right and Islamist Institute for Jewish
for scrutiny due to their being Jewish. extremists, it includes chapters on Jewish Policy Research
control of war, politicians, finance and media.
8. http://www.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation The Protocols contains old antisemitic themes antisemitism.
in Europe (OSCE), the worlds largest regional that still resonate, impact and evolve in content/uploads/
security organisation, explained the relation modern politics, media and discourse. odgal0026r1_
8 Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015

UK JEWISH LIFE: putting antisemitism into context

ANY OVERALL assessment of the condition of British Jewry demands proper consideration of
both positive and negative aspects. Britains diverse Jewish communities have many examples
of success, vibrancy and confidence. Nevertheless, antisemitic hate crimes, antisemitic discourse
and wider antisemitic attitudes in society are issues of considerable importance for British Jews.

Overview Jewish community, however, has existed since

Jewish life in Britain today is diverse, and most 1656, when Oliver Cromwell formally invited
Jews are well integrated into wider society. Jews to return to this country.
Government and others often cite the Jewish
community as the benchmark of successful By the end of the nineteenth century,
minority integration. Jews were largely emancipated politically,
economically and socially, but still suffered
British Jews have full equal rights and instances of exclusion and prejudice. From
protection in law, including against antisemitic 1881 to 1914, the influx of Russian Jewish
incitement and bias. Jews who wish to live a immigrants saw the Jewish communitys
Jewish life can do so in many ways, including population rise from c.60,000 to c.300,000.
educational, religious, cultural or political Many Jews can trace their arrival in Britain
activities. Generally, overt antisemitism is back to this wave of immigration. Others can
deemed socially unacceptable and Jews trace their British identity back considerably
have succeeded in many spheres of public further. Considerable numbers of Jews of
and private life. Nevertheless, the long other national origins have arrived in recent
history of antisemitism, and its remaining years and decades, from countries including
manifestations, can cause significant concerns. South Africa, Israel and France.

The 2006 Report of the All-Party Demography

Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism noted A total of 263,346 people answered Jewish
that there is much truth in the apparent to the voluntary question on religion in the
contradiction between the positive situation 2011 UK census. For the first time, the 2011
of British Jewry, and contrary feelings of census showed Jews living in every local
vulnerability and isolation.9 authority in England and Wales.10

History Just under two-thirds of British Jews live

Jews arrived in the British Isles in Roman in Greater London. Other major Jewish
times, but organised settlement followed the centres are in Manchester, Leeds, Gateshead,
Norman conquest of 1066. Massacres of Jews Birmingham and Glasgow.
9. Report of the All- occurred in many cities in 1190, most notably
Party Parliamentary
Inquiry into in York. In 1290, all Jews were expelled by King The religious composition of the Jewish
Antisemitism, p.1
Edward I, but some converts to Christianity community is highly diverse, and ranges from
10. Simon Rocker, and secret adherents to Judaism remained. the strictly Orthodox to non-practising.
Census 2011: The
Jewish breakdown,
Jewish Chronicle
(13 December 2012) Following the expulsion of Jews from Spain
com/news/uk- in 1492, a covert Jewish community became
news/94111/census- established in London. The present British
Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015 9

WHAT IS ANTISEMITISM? Background and concepts

IN ESSENCE, antisemitism is discrimination, prejudice or hostility against Jews.

The word antisemitism came into use in the late nineteenth century to describe pseudoscientific
racial discrimination against Jews, but is now used more generally to describe all forms of
discrimination, prejudice or hostility towards Jews throughout history, and has been called the
Longest Hatred.11

It may be spelled as antisemitism or as anti-Semitism. CST uses antisemitism, as this spelling

limits the notion that there is such a thing as Semitism to which one may be anti (i.e., in
opposition to).

Antisemitism: background antisemitism from other types of racism,

History shows that increases in anti-Jewish which often depict their targets as ignorant
sentiment or actions often reflect growing and primitive.
extremism or divisions within society as a
whole. Antisemitism is a subject that should Antisemitism - like any other form of
concern not only Jews, but all of society. prejudice - is not solely a matter of discerning
the conscious motivation or intention of an
The near destruction of European Jewry individual or group. Antisemitism can also
in the Nazi Holocaust rendered open reside in the resonance of a perpetrators
antisemitism taboo in public life. The behaviour, where this echoes or repeats older
strong association of antisemitism with the antisemitic accusations and behaviours.
Nazi Holocaust can lead to the mistaken
assumption that antisemitism is an exclusively Antisemitism can also be the impact (whether
far right phenomenon that essentially ended intended or inadvertent) of a perpetrators
after World War Two. actions, or the consequence of the policies
and practises of an organisation.
Throughout history, anti-Jewish attitudes
have taken many forms, including religious, Types of antisemitism
nationalist, economic and racial-biological. Antisemitism is a global phenomenon,
Jews have been blamed for many occurring even where there are no Jews.
phenomena, including the death of Jesus; Its manifestation and expression may
11. For example,
the Black Death; the advent of liberalism, range from violent thuggery and murder Robert S. Wistrich
Anti-Semitism The
democracy, communism and capitalism; and to literary, philosophical and political Longest Hatred,
Methuen, 1991 and
for inciting numerous revolutions and wars. discourse. Antisemitism has been described Screen Guides for
as an ideology in its own right; but others Thames Television
The Longest
A dominant antisemitic theme is the say it is undeserving of such status and Hatred, 1991.

allegation that Jews are powerful and should rather be regarded as a polluter of 12. Norman
Cohn, Warrant for
cunning manipulators, set against the rest of ideologies.13 Its persistence in some form or Genocide. London:
society for their evil and timeless purpose. other is not doubted, yet precise definitions Serif Books (1996),
original publ. 1965
The notion of Jewish power, (for example as of antisemitism, its scale and the nature of
13. Anthony
codified within the notorious forgery12, The its contemporary appearance can cause Julius, Trials of the
Diaspora. Oxford:
Protocols of the Elders of Zion), distinguishes heated debate. Oxford University
Press (2010), p.xliv
10 Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015

Interpretations of antisemitism experienced by Jews...through to the late

Much has been written and discussed twentieth century.
regarding what constitutes antisemitism. The
definitions shown below are intended as a
A new configuration of anti-Zionisms,
constructive guide to differing interpretations, emerging in the late 1960s and the 1970s,
but are the briefest of introductions to what is which treats Zionism and the State of
a very large topic. Israel as illegitimate Jewish enterprises.
This perspective, heavily indebted to
Steve Cohen argued that antisemitism is anti-Semitic tropes, now constitutes the
defined by its ideological nature: greatest threat to Anglo-Jewish security
and morale...By tropes I mean those
The peculiar and defining feature of taken-for-granted utterances, those figures
anti-semitism is that it exists as an ideology. and metaphors through which more general
It provides its adherents with a universal and positions are intimated, without ever being
generalised interpretation of the world. This argued for.15
is the theory of the Jewish conspiracy, which
depicts Jews as historically controlling and Brian Klug describes the importance of the
determining nature and human destiny. imaginary Jew (as distinct to the reality of
Anti-semitism is an ideology which has Jews). He depicts the antisemitic caricature of
influenced millions of people precisely this imaginary Jew as:
because it presents an explanation of the
world by attributing such extreme powers to The Jew belongs to a sinister people
its motive force the Jews.14 set apart from all others, not merely by
its customs but by a collective character:
Anthony Julius has argued that English arrogant yet obsequious; legalistic yet
antisemitism comprises several kinds of corrupt; flamboyant yet secretive. Always
anti-Semitism; and he identifies four kinds looking to turn a profit, Jews are as ruthless
that wholly or substantially have an as they are tricky. Loyal only to their own,
English provenance: wherever they go they form a state within a
state, preying upon the societies in whose
14. Steve Cohen,
A radical anti-Semitism of defamation, midst they dwell. Their hidden hand controls
Thats Funny, You expropriation, murder, and expulsion that the banks, the markets and the media. And
Dont Look Anti-
Semitic. Leeds: is, the anti-Semitism of medieval England, when revolutions occur or nations go to war,
Beyond the Pale
Collective (1984), which completed itself in 1290, when there it is the Jews cohesive, powerful, clever and
were no Jews left to torment. stubborn who invariably pull the strings and
15. Julius, Trials reap the rewards.16
of the Diaspora,
pp.xxxvixxxvii A literary anti-Semitism that is, an anti-
16. Dr Brian Klug, Semitic account of Jews continuously
The Concept of
present in the discourse of English
speech to Oxford literature...through to present times.
University Chabad
Society (7 June
2009) http://www.
oxfordchabad. A modern, quotidian anti-Semitism of
articlecco_cdo/ insult and partial exclusion, pervasive
aid/922682/jewish/ but contained...everyday anti-Semitism
Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015 11

ANTISEMITISM: legal definitions

LEGISLATIVE DEFINITIONS of antisemitism are primarily intended for Police and judicial use
in identifying antisemitic incidents and crimes, rather than defining discourse. Nevertheless,
these definitions can provide useful tools for helping consider what may, or may not, constitute
antisemitic discourse.

Race Relations Act 1976 The Government command response to the

The 2006 All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Parliamentary inquiry concurred, stating:
Antisemitism summarised antisemitism by
reference to the Race Relations Act 1976 The Government currently uses the Stephen
as follows: Lawrence Inquiry definition of a racist incident
which is an incident that is perceived as racist
Broadly, it is our view that any remark, insult by the victim or any other person, and this
or act the purpose or effect of which is to would include antisemitism. This is a very wide
violate a Jewish persons dignity or create an and powerful definition as it clearly includes
intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or the perception of the victim and others.19
offensive environment for him is antisemitic.
European Union Monitoring
This reflects the definition of harassment Centre / Fundamental Rights
under the Race Relations Act 1976. This Agency / International Holocaust
definition can be applied to individuals and to Remembrance Alliance
the Jewish community as a whole.17 In 200203, the Monitoring Centre conducted
a study of antisemitism in Europe that included
Stephen Lawrence Inquiry (1999) an important recommendation to define
The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry definition of antisemitic acts.20 Subsequently, the Monitoring
a racist incident has significantly influenced Centre issued a Working Definition primarily
17. Report of
societal interpretations of what does and to aid law enforcement when deciding whether the All-Party
does not constitute racism, strengthening the crimes are antisemitic or not. This was intended Parliamentary
Inquiry into
importance of the victims perception. to enable cross-comparison and assessment of Antisemitism, p.1

levels of antisemitism; and European nations 18. Report of

the All-Party
The 2006 All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into policing and prosecuting of antisemitism. Parliamentary
Antisemitism invoked the Lawrence inquiry Inquiry into
Antisemitism, p.1
when it said of these issues: The Working Definitions list of behaviours
19. All-Party Inquiry
that could, taking into account the overall into Antisemitism:
We take into account the view expressed context indicate antisemitism, include various Response. London:
in the Macpherson report of the Stephen anti-Israel acts and attitudes. Some anti-Israel The Stationery
Office (29 March
Lawrence Inquiry that a racist act is defined by and anti-Zionist activists claim this unfairly 2007), p.3. https://
its victim. It is not acceptable for an individual renders their behaviour antisemitic. Some government/
to say I am not a racist if his or her words or pro-Israel activists claim that the Working system/uploads/
acts are perceived to be racist. Definition defines and outlaws certain attachment_data/
anti-Israel attitudes and acts as antisemitic. In
20. http://www.
We conclude that it is the Jewish community order to suit their political goal, both parties european-forum-
itself that is best qualified to determine what neglect the Working Definitions core purpose org/working-
does and does not constitute antisemitism.18 and its caveat about overall context. definition-of-
12 Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015

The claims and counter-claims regarding the remains, as does the need for definitions
Working Definition are made more complex that aid understanding of the issue.
by the Monitoring Centre having been Consequently, the Working Definition
replaced by the Fundamental Rights Agency: remains an important definition and is used
which, by European statute, has a different by various institutions in Britain, Europe
role to that of the Monitoring Centre and and beyond: including the UK College of
therefore no longer publishes the Working Policing, the National Union of Students and
Definition on its website. the International Holocaust Remembrance
Alliance21 (members of which include Britain,
Nevertheless, the desire for a standardised the US and many European countries).
pan-European definition of antisemitism

BRITISH JEWS: relationship with Zionism and Israel

21. https://www.
holocaust ZIONISM AND Israel are, in part, Jewish responses to the long and often tragic history of
22. According
to one survey in
2010, 95% of UK
Jews have visited
The complex dynamics between antisemitism, anti-Israel activity and anti-Zionism are central to
Israel; 90% see it the nature, content and impact of much contemporary debate about British antisemitism; and
as the ancestral
homeland of the also to debate surrounding the issue, including British Jews concerns about antisemitism.
Jewish people;
72% consider
themselves to be
Zionists. David
Graham and Overwhelmingly, British Jews do not come A similar survey by City University in 2015
Jonathan Boyd,
The Attitudes of from Israel and their families have been found that 90% of British Jews support Israels
Jews in Britain
towards Israel. British for at least two or more generations. right to exist as a Jewish state and 93% said
London: Institute
for Jewish Policy Nevertheless, Israel plays an important role Israel plays some role in their Jewish identity.24
Research (July 2010)
in the self-identity of many British Jews.22 This
uk/downloads/ manifests in the practical sense of physical, In recent years, Israel has been subject to
survey%20 emotional and family links that many Jews repeated criticism and outright hostility from
enjoy with Israel and Israeli citizens, as well as relatively large sections of the liberal-left,
23. David Graham
and Jonathan Boyd,
in the psychological sense of perceiving Israel including media, campaigning groups, trade
The Attitudes of as representing Jewish identity, refuge and unions, politicians, churches and the NGO
Jews in Britain
towards Israel. rebirth in the post-Holocaust age. sector. British Jews hold varying perspectives
London: Institute
for Jewish Policy on the legitimacy and motivation of this
Research (July 2010) A 2010 survey by the Institute for Jewish Policy behaviour, ranging from those who play a
Research found that 95% of British Jews say Israel leading part in anti-Israel activity, to those who
survey%20 plays some role in their Jewish identity, 82% regard these actions as antisemitic.
say it plays a central or important role and 72%
24. consider themselves Zionists. The same survey
found 95% of British Jews have visited Israel.23
Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015 13


LIKE RACISM, antisemitism can feed off criticism of Jews, Israel or Zionism, regardless of how fair
or unfair, antisemitic or legitimate, that criticism may be.


THE TERM anti-Zionism describes a wide range of hostile attitudes towards Jewish
self-determination, and particularly towards Jewish peoplehood and the right of the Jewish
people to have a nation-state (now existing in Israel). Anti-Zionism that denies these beliefs, or
seeks Israels dissolution, should not be confused with criticism of Israels actions.

Anti-Zionism is often a complex and contested term, because definitions of Zionism itself mean
different things to different people. In particular, mainstream Jewish definitions of Zionism differ
markedly from far left, far right and Islamist definitions all of which tend to use (and denigrate)
Zionism as a term of political abuse.

Not all anti-Zionists are antisemites and anti-Zionism is not necessarily antisemitic. Nevertheless,
when the mainstream Jewish understanding of the word Zionism is misrepresented, this
encourages antisemitic impacts and attitudes.

The denial or malicious misrepresentation of Jewish peoplehood is fundamentally antisemitic, as is

politically motivated denial of the Jewish peoples historical and religious links with the land of Israel.

Jews and anti-Zionism National Front sticker combining Jewish

In the decades before World War Two, Star of David symbol with against Zionism.
anti-Zionism was a relatively widespread
and respected position within mainstream
Jewish politics. Many Jewish anti-Zionists
opposed the idea of creating a Jewish state
because they feared it would threaten the
political and civic status of Jews in Diaspora
communities. Others opposed Zionism
because they believed that revolutionary
socialism would emancipate Jews alongside
the rest of humanity. Many strictly Orthodox
Jews opposed Zionism on theological grounds
relating to the coming of the Messiah.
declined markedly. Other than in some ultra-
After the Holocaust and the creation (and Orthodox or far left groups, Jews tend not to
survival) of Israel, Jewish opposition to Zionism describe themselves as anti-Zionists.
14 Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015


CRITICISM OF Zionism or Israel may not be antisemitic per se, but it risks becoming so when
traditional antisemitic themes are employed; when Jews are randomly targeted as a result; when
Jewish concerns are disregarded or, worse, deliberately misrepresented as being fake cover for Israel;
and when Jewish historical and religious ties with Israel are denied.

Antisemitism, anti-Zionism and anti-Israel criticism or hatred are not the same as each other. They
can, however, be hard to untangle and distinguish from one another.

It is not necessarily antisemitic to criticise malevolent conspiracy, much as antisemites

Israel or Zionism, even if the criticism is harsh have portrayed Jews in the past. This can be
or unfair. Gauging antisemitic motives and found within far right, far left and extreme
impacts largely depends upon the interaction Islamist and New Age circles.
of the following factors:
These different ideologies all use Zionism
Target: Are local Jews being singled out as and Zionist as pejorative labels for political
recipients for criticism, bias or hatred that opponents, often regardless of whether
ostensibly derives from anti-Israel or the targets of their hatred are Jewish or
anti-Zionist enmity? not. In each different setting, Zionism is
commonly discussed and perceived in ways
Motivation: To what extent is the criticism, that are strikingly similar to older antisemitic
or outright hatred, driven by the Jewish conspiracy theories (for example, in The
nature of Israel and/or Zionism? Protocols of the Elders of Zion).

Content: Does the criticism, or hatred, use Employing the word Zionist where the word
antisemitic or otherwise discriminatory Jew would have previously appeared in open
language, themes and motifs? antisemitic discourse may, or may not, be
deliberate obfuscation on the part of the user.
Response to concerns: Are local Jewish Nevertheless, it essentially fulfils the same
concerns about the above sincerely and psychological and political purpose as open
equally heard? Or, are Jewish concerns viewed antisemitism once did.
with hostility and singled out for scorn?
This antisemitic anti-Zionism has, at its core,
Repeat behaviour: Does the offender repeat a construction of Zionism as a political,
their behaviour, knowing the consequences financial, military and media conspiracy that
and concerns that will be raised? is centred in Washington and Jerusalem, and
which opposes authentic local interests. It is
Antisemitic anti-Zionism and commonly found in extremist discourse, and
conspiracy theory sometimes alluded to in more diluted forms in
Antisemitism has changed and adapted mainstream discourse.
throughout history to reflect the condition
of Jews and the society around them at any Unlike Jewish pre-war anti-Zionism, these
given time. Today there is an antisemitic form modern anti-Zionists are not motivated by a
of anti-Zionism that treats Zionism as a global, concern for Jewish political and civic rights.
Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015 15

The All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into subversion are then transferred from Jews (a
Antisemitism noted: racial and religious group) on to Zionism (a
political movement). This is at the core of the
One of the most difficult and contentious New Antisemitism on which so much has
issues about which we have received evidence been written.25
is the dividing line between antisemitism and
criticism of Israel or Zionism. Other continuities between historical
antisemitic themes and the type of modern
...discourse has developed that is in effect anti-Zionism that is antisemitic can include:
antisemitic because it views Zionism itself
as a global force of unlimited power and Alleging that Jewish holy books preach
malevolence throughout history. This Jewish supremacy or chosenness and that
definition of Zionism bears no relation to this is the basis for alleged Zionist racism.
the understanding that most Jews have of
the concept; that is, a movement of Jewish Dehumanising and demonising language
national liberation, born in the late nineteenth comparing Jews to rats, cancer, plague and
century with a geographical focus limited bacteria is now repeated in some depictions
to Israel. Having re-defined Zionism in this of Zionists and Israel. This reduces its target
way, traditional antisemitic notions of Jewish to a pest or disease to be cleansed.
conspiratorial power, manipulation and
Scapegoating Jews as the Other; blaming
them for local and global problems; and
This picture has been used by various demanding their destruction or conversion
groups, including MEMO (Middle East
as a vital step in building a new, better
Monitor). It is the modern version of the old
antisemitic trope about Jewish money and world is echoed in the notion that Zionism
conspiracy. The hand with the coin shows is uniquely illegitimate, and that its
an Israeli flag: whereas the hand that holds destruction is paradigmatic of theological
Parliament has a Star of David that can also
and political struggles for the future of
represent Jews per se.
the world.

The image of Jews as alien corruptors

of traditional, authentic society and
established morality endures in todays
portrayals of Zionists as somehow
hijacking other peoples true will and
nature, and thereby polluting domestic
politics and society.

25. Report of
the All-Party
Inquiry into
Antisemitism, p.17
16 Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015

a Prejudicial Group-focused enmity

GROUP-FOCUSED ENMITY is an emerging study of hostility to groups, defined as:

the negative evaluation of groups and of individuals because of their (factual or perceived) group
membership. This is different to individual dislike of a specific person. Prejudices are used to
legitimise social inequality.26

The development of group-focused enmity It is not only Jews who may be labelled as
against Zionists follows a particular pattern: Zionists, but Jews are overwhelmingly those
who will be most personally affronted and
1. The words Zionism and Zionist are stripped affected by this.
of their essential meaning (belief in a Jewish
homeland in Israel), and are instead used in The impact of anti-Zionist group hostility is
a highly adaptable and hateful manner. such that it even occurs in settings that self-
define as being opposed to antisemitism, but
2. Individuals or groups are pejoratively also hold strong opinions against Zionists,
labelled as Zionist (however that is defined Zionism and Israel (for example within some
or understood by those hostile to it). trade unions or other left leaning political
groups). Jews seeking equality in such settings
3. Once labelled as Zionist, the individual or may be compelled to make clear their opinion
group is denied equal and fundamental rights. on Zionism or Israel, regardless of whether they
wish to do so or not. Failure to show sufficient
4. In the name of virtue, the Zionist individual distancing from Zionism and Israel then risks
or group is excluded and driven out. adversely impacting against the prospective
Jewish participant or member.

26. http://www.
english.pdf. 2009
paper: European
Findings of a study
on Group-focused
Enmity in Europe.
Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015 17


ON 12 SEPTEMBER 2015, Jeremy Corbyn MP won the Labour Party leadership election. The
contest was hotly disputed between differing wings of the party, and attracted a great deal of
media attention. Corbyns attitude to antisemitism became a central feature of political and
media discussion before, during and after his election as leader.

This was the first time in decades that Jewish groups were faking these concerns in
antisemitism had featured so prominently order to support Israel, with a new insinuation,
in national UK debate. It was also the first that this alleged fakery was also somehow
time in decades that the bulk of the Jewish part of the establishment opposition to
community had felt so uneasy about one of Corbyn. These narratives fuelled the cycle of
Britains leading political parties, a situation distrust and polarisation between the bulk
made more striking by the long association of the Jewish community and those acting in
between British Jews and the Labour Party. support of Corbyn.
These factors combined to leave many British
Jews feeling deeply uncomfortable. The controversy also saw widespread abuse
of Corbyns Labour opponents on social
Overwhelmingly, Corbyn was not himself media by people wanting to support him,
accused of being an antisemite, neither by his including usage of the word Zionist as a
political opponents and media critics, nor by term of hatred against individual MPs (both
Jewish leaders and organisations. Jewish and non-Jewish). This showed how the
word Zionist is demonised in such circles,
Corbyns understanding of, and opposition to, deepening Jewish fears about the extent to
right wing antisemitism was never questioned. which such hateful attitudes may permeate
Rather, concerns centred upon his attitude the membership and leadership of the
to antisemitism from left wing and Islamist Labour Party.
sources, particularly those anti-Zionist and
anti-Israel circles with which he is so closely Opposition to antisemitism
associated. Many of these concerns remain. and racism
Repeatedly, Jeremy Corbyn strongly rejected
In many ways, the concerns directed at Jeremy any suggestion that he was antisemitic, or was
Corbyn were the accumulation of many negligent on the issue. His opposition was,
years of mainstream Jewish fears about the however, routinely expressed in ways that
anti-Zionist and anti-Israel left, including its stated his opposing both antisemitism and
refusals to seriously contemplate mainstream racism, even though racism per se was not
Jewish concerns; and its allying with the matter in question.
antisemitic Islamist groups such as the Muslim
Brotherhood and Hizbollah. Much of this from This opposition to antisemitism and racism
2001 onwards was under the Stop the War was interpreted by many observers, including
Coalition umbrella, chaired by Corbyn from CST, as an implicit failure or refusal to address
2011 to 19 September 2015.27 antisemitism in and of its own right. This
27. http://stopwar.
perception severely undermined
The rejection of mainstream Jewish concerns confidence in Corbyns understanding of before-you-fisk-
combined the familiar accusation that UK antisemitism, especially in contemporary 10-things-the-
18 Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015

and non-right wing settings. It therefore also links with Paul Eisen, who has questioned
compromised perceptions of his willingness to the existence of gas chambers during
tackle the problem. the Holocaust.

Jewish Chronicle survey Seumas Milne smear allegation

A representative sample of over 1,000 British The Guardian Associate Editor, Seumas Milne,
Jews, surveyed by the Jewish Chronicle was appointed Labours Executive Director of
newspaper on 17-18 August 2015, showed Strategy & Communications on 20 October 2015.
both the overall lack of Jewish support for This gave retrospective importance to Milnes
Labour and the extent of concerns about Guardian article at the height of the antisemitism
Jeremy Corbyn.28 controversy two months earlier, in which he
dismissed antisemitism concerns as smears,
63% of respondents said they had voted writing29:
Conservative in the May General Election
and 14% had voted Labour. The real objection is that Corbyn represents a
break with City-backed austerity and a powerful
67% were concerned about Corbyn commitment to public investment. Add to that his
becoming Labour leader and 13% opposition to Trident renewal and endless British
were unconcerned. warmaking, and the challenge he represents to
the establishment consensus is obvious enough.
83% were concerned by Corbyn having
previously referred to Hamas and Hizbollah So as each denunciation has failed to dent
as our friends. Corbyns lead, they have become more
poisonous. The latest target is his support for
80% were concerned by Corbyns past dialogue with Hamas and Hezbollah, combined

According to a survey of 1,000 British Jews by the Jewish Chronicle:

Concerned about Jeremy Corbyn

67% becoming Labour leader

Concerned by Jeremy Corbyns links to Paul

80% Eisen, who has questioned the existence of
28. http://www. gas chambers in the Holocaust
Concerned by Jeremy Corbyn having
29. https://www.
theguardian. previously referred to Hamas and Hizbollah as
commentisfree/ our friends
Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015 19

with an attempt to smear him by association with Withdrawal from MEMO event with
antisemitism. As Blair himself has met Hamass Carlos Latuff
leader, Khaled Mishal, four times since April, its a In July 2015, CST raised concerns34 at Jeremy
bizarre line of attack Corbyns advertised appearance at an event
organised by Middle East Monitor (MEMO),
Milnes mention of dialogue with Hamas and alongside notorious cartoonist Carlos Latuff.
Hezbollah was prompted by strong criticism
of Corbyn for having called these groups our CST noted MEMOs past record of peddling
friends.30 31 Milnes rebuttal (like Corbyns own) conspiracy theories and myths about Jews,
wholly downplayed the extent of his associations Zionists, money and power; and warned that
with UK supporters of these groups, especially via Latuff, a repeat user of antisemitic imagery,
Stop the War Coalition events and statements. had won second prize in the 2006 staging of
Irans grotesque Holocaust Cartoon Contest.
Milnes statement made no mention of Jews, but
called the antisemitism concerns an attempt When subsequently challenged by the
to smear and bracketed this with City-backed Jewish Chronicle, a spokesperson for Corbyn
austerity and endless British warmaking, as if stated35, He is not attending any conference
these were all actions of the establishment. on August 22nd. Jeremys very strongly-held
view is there should not be any antisemitic,
Guardian lead letter: Islamophobic or racist slogans or banners at
guided by their Israeli contacts any demonstration, ever.
The following days Guardian ran seven letters
from readers on the antisemitism controversy, This statement did not acknowledge the
one of which opposed Corbyn on the issue. problematic nature of MEMO or Latuff,
30. https://www.
The designated lead letter, from three nor did it state that this was the reason for
Jews, prompted a formal complaint by the Corbyns non-attendance. (MEMO claimed it watch?v=
Jewish Chronicle to the Guardian readers was due to his campaigning commitments.)
31. https://www.
editor. The lead letter risked antisemitic Furthermore, the strongly held view against
interpretation by speaking of political antisemitism was stated in a highly generalised Channel4News/
manipulations, suggesting that influential context, typical of Corbyns responses to 175846939/

Jews may be guided by their Israeli Jewish concerns at this time.

32. https://www.
contacts and by alleging deliberate abuse
of antisemitism32: Councillor suspension and readmission: aug/20/jeremy-
ISIS, Mossad, Jews, Zionists antisemitism-claims
The accusations of antisemitism are, of Beinazir Lasharie, a councillor in Kensington and
33. http://www.
course, political manipulationsInfluential Chelsea, was suspended from the Labour Party
sections of the Jewish community, maybe on 18 October 2015 after The Sun newspaper and-debate/
guided by their Israeli contacts, are reported that she had shared a video on her guardians-it-again
frightened that a notable critic of Israels Facebook page entitled ISIS: Israeli Secret
34. https://cst.
policies and actions might attain a position of Intelligence Service, commenting36:
prominence in British politicsthe repeated blog/2015/07/08/
conflation of anti-Zionism and antisemitism is Many people know about who was behind and-antisemitism-
no accident. It is done quite consciously. 9/11 and also who is behind ISIS. Ive nothing answer

against Jewsjust sharing it!

The Guardian readers editor ruled that the
letter neither evokes, deliberately or otherwise, She subsequently added Ive heard some jeremy-corbyn-
the anti-semitic slur that you see in it.33 compelling evidence about ISIS being conference-
originated from Zionists!. which-antisemitic-
20 Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015

Lasharie was suspended by the party CST described the response as:
pending investigation, in what was thought to
be the first suspension of a councillor for such formulaic and inadequate. It lacks
behaviour after Corbyns leadership victory. meaningful disciplinary action and the Jewish
Lasharie strenuously denied antisemitism, money remarks are not even plainly called out
saying how can I be racist against Jewish as antisemitic language. This will do little to
people when my children are part Jewish?.... calm our communitys growing concerns about
She was readmitted to Labour in how seriously such matters are taken.
December 2015.37
Jeremy Corbyns response repeated his
Sir Gerald Kaufman MP: Jewish money tendency to avoid talking about antisemitism
Labours Sir Gerald Kaufman MP, the Father of in its own right. He called the remarks40:
the House (i.e. Parliaments most veteran MP),
told a meeting of the Palestine Return Centre completely unacceptable and deeply
in Parliament on 27 October 2015 that Jewish regrettabledamaging to community
money was responsible for the Conservative relations, and also do nothing to benefit the
Partys Israel policy.38 Palestinian cause. I have always implacably
opposed all forms of racism, antisemitism and
Kaufman, who is himself Jewish, said that he Islamophobia and will continue to do so. At my
was able to say this in way that others could request, the chief whip has met Sir Gerald and
36. http://www. not. Two Labour MPs, Andrew Slaughter expressed my deep concern.
news/politics/ and Martin Linton, were present, but neither
contestant- objected. Slaughter, Labour shadow minister
for Human Rights, claimed not to have heard
antiisrael-facebook- Kaufman, but did approvingly refer twice to
html other parts of Kaufmans speech in his own
37. http://
remarks to the meeting. Slaughter did not
order-order. endorse those comments.
corbynista-who- Kaufman had stated:
Martin [Linton MP] wonders why this
38. http://www. governments policy has gone farther and
labour-veteran- farther and more and more pro-Israeli: so Ill
tell you, because I can tell you in a way which
jewish-money- perhaps nobody else in this room can tell you.
conservativ Its Jewish money, Jewish donations to the
39. http://www. Conservative party as in the general election
in May support from the Jewish Chronicle, all
jeremy-corbyn- of those things, bias the Conservatives
%E2%80%99- CST joined other Jewish community groups in
requesting swift action from the Labour Party.
40. http://www. Labour Chief Whip Rosie Winterton MPs reply
manchesterevening included her saying, Jeremy and I hope that
manchester-news/ Sir Gerald will apologise for his remarks.39
Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015 21

Below, Labour MPs are accused of being These tweets, apparently from left-wing
Zionist entryists and Jeremy Corbyn MP is senders, display various aspects of modern
urged to deselect them.
antisemitism in the context of Labour
Party politics.

None of the tweets mention Jews, but all

play upon antisemitic themes and antisemitic
conspiracy theories. The senders also use
the word Zionist in an entirely hateful
manner, shaping it to fit whatever meets their
psychological and political need.

Below, the MSM (meaning mainstream mass Below, a tweet directed at Yvette Cooper MP
media) is accused of being Zionist and Nazi. alleges Zionist conspiracy behind war and
division. This is a central theme of antisemitic
conspiracy theory.

Below, Jeremy Corbyn MPs rivals for the

Labour leadership are called friends of
Israel and accused of being child killers, a
longstanding antisemitic theme since earliest
Christian times. Below, Yvette Cooper MPs husband Ed
Balls is called a zionist bilderberg during
the Labour leadership election campaign.
This is a reference to a conspiracy theory
in which those who attend the annual
Bilderberg Group meeting are accused of
running the world.
22 Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015



DESPITE SOME exceptions (discussed below), the relative lack of antisemitism directed at
Labour leader Ed Miliband MP during the May 2015 General Election campaign was a welcome
sign of the unacceptability of such discourse in mainstream politics and media.

Miliband himself felt that antisemitism was not a meaningful factor in coverage of him. For
example, on the suggestion that north London was some kind of coded way of noting his
Jewishness, Miliband stated 41:

Two people came up to me after another programme and said that [Jew] was what north
London geek meant. They thought it was a sort of euphemism. I certainly dont think whoever
used it meant it in that way.

Would Britain accept a Jewish Prime someone from another faith. 6% of voters said
Minister? it was not acceptable. In 2004, approximately
A January 2015 survey by YouGov42 showed 50% said it was equally acceptable and 18%
that UKIP voters were more antisemitic than said it was not.
others, whereas Labour voters were the
least antisemitic. The survey also showed Respectively, 73% and 72% of Liberal
considerably less antisemitism than when Democrat and Labour voters said it was
similar questions were posed in January 2004. equally acceptable, compared to 65% of
Conservatives and 48% of UKIP voters. 23%
The survey showed that only one-third of of UKIP supporters disagreed, compared to
voters actually knew that Miliband was 38% of Conservatives, 44% of Labour and
Jewish, with Labour voters less aware than 47% of Liberal Democrats.
other voters.
Overall 10% of respondents felt Jews
Overall, 83% of voters said that Ed Milibands have too much influence in this country,
Jewish identity would make no difference compared to 18% in 2004. 18% of UKIP voters
to their voting intentions. 6% said that it agreed, compared to 10% of Labour, 9% of
would. In a similar survey at the time of the Conservatives and 5% of Liberal Democrats.
2004 General Election, 18% said that (then
Conservative leader) Michael Howards The Sun and Daily Mail
Jewish identity would affect their intentions. On 6 May, the day before the 2015 General
41. http://www.
Election, The Sun and Daily Mail newspapers
interviews/135457/ 13% of UKIP voters said they would be less led with front pages that left themselves open
i-value-my- likely to vote for a party led by a Jew. The to interpretation as playing upon Milibands
community figure fell to 7% of Conservatives, 6% of Jewishness. Whatever their intentions, both
Liberal Democrats and 4% of Labour voters. front covers prompted some questioning and
42. http://www.
telegraph. unease, especially amongst Jews.
Overall 62% perceived a Jewish candidate as
Would-Britain- being an equally acceptable Prime Minister, as The Sun front page used the well-known
Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015 23

photograph from May 2014 of Miliband He might stick her head in the oven and turn
awkwardly eating a bacon sandwich. At the on the gas.
time of its initial publication, commentators
noted the unavoidable aspect of Milibands Given the Miliband familys experiences
being Jewish and asked the extent to which regarding the Holocaust, the tweet was at
this gave the photograph added power as an best insensitive and at worst a deliberate
image with which to vilify the Labour leader. antisemitic provocation, playing upon Jews
and the Holocaust. Having faced much
These questions and their ultimately subjective criticism, Hopkins subsequently tweeted
interpretations arose again when The Sun Jews and Gays love me. Get over it. The
chose this, of all the pictures of Miliband, as its Scots and Palestinians arent so keen. I give
front page for the day before the election, with you that.
typically mocking headlines reading43:
Suspended Conservative council
Save Our Bacon, This is the pigs ear Ed candidate: the Jew Miliband
made of a helpless sarnie. In 48 hours, he
could be doing the same to Britain, and
Dont swallow his porkies and keep him out.

The Daily Mail front pages use of the word

zealot prompted questions as to whether
this word, with its biblical connotations,
had been employed as a means of hinting
at Milibands Jewishness. As with The Suns
bacon themed cover, interpretations of why
the Daily Mail used this word were ultimately
subjective. The Daily Mails front page read:

For sanitys sake dont let a class-war zealot

and the SNP destroy our economy and our
very nation.

Sun columnist Katie Hopkins

On 25 April 2015, Gulzabeen Afsar, a

Conservative council candidate in Derby,
43. https://www.
wrote on Facebook45 just cant take Mr Ed
Miliband Seriously!! DC has what it takes to commentisfree/
be the future PM. Another user replied that sun-front-page-
she should show respect for the future PM, our-bacon-ed-
whereupon Afsar replied:
44. http://www.
On 27 March 2015, Katie Hopkins (then Sun Nah bro! never ever will I drop that low and uk-news/132958/
columnist, now MailOnline), tweeted that support the Al Yahud! Lol. claim-ed-miliband-
pollsters had found Ed Milibands wife Justine should-put-his-wife-
was the least popular of party wives. Her Al Yahud is Arabic for the Jew. (Lol means
tweet continued 44: laugh out loud.) 45. http://www.
24 Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015

Afsar apologised and removed the comment. Theres a common thread that binds
She was suspended from the Conservative so-called atheist Marxists like Joe Slovo,
Party on 27 April.46 Nadine Gordimer, and Ed Miliband. Your
audience will have to decide what that is.
UKIP parliamentary candidate There are too many commonalities to go over
suspended for antisemitism and racism in a ten minute phone call. Lets leave that for
One week before the General Election, UKIP another day.
suspended Jack Sen, its West Lancashire
candidate. Sens name remained on the its people like Karl Marxand evil c***s like
pre-printed ballot papers and he came third Ed Miliband
in the polling, with 6,058 votes (12%). Sen
subsequently joined the British National
Party, saying he would be its North West
press officer.

Sen was suspended due to an interview47

he gave to the European Knights Project
group and also for tweets against Luciana
Berger MP.48

Sens European Knights interview pushed

the hardline far right conspiracy theory that
allege cultural Marxism seeks the genocide
of white nations. This is the contemporary
version of older Nazi and neo-Nazi claims
that Jews conspire to destroy the white race.
Those named by Sen as responsible for this
were almost all Jewish, including repeated
mentions of Ed Miliband. Excerpts included:

Our values are being eroded by a shadowy

elite bent on our destruction... the same
monsters wrecking our lands - men like Ed
Miliband, are still in power.

46. http://www.
conservativehome. The west is controlled by Leftists that
2015/04/ can trace their roots back to former Soviet
eastern bloc nations-men like Yossel Slovo,
who-said-shed- Ed Miliband etc...It didnt work in Europe via
the-jew-miliband- economic Marxism, so theyve since turned to
the-party.html our culture, hence the term Cultural Marxism.

47. http://www.
europeanknights Think of men like Dan Glass, Eleanor
ukip-parliament- Margolis. This scum ticks all the right boxes.
Ralph Miliband emigrated to Britain and did
48. http://www. his utmost to destroy his host nation.
Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015 25


antisemitic Rothschild picture

SNP been removedSandra apologises for any

A grotesque antisemitic picture, retweeted offence caused. Whites next apology went
by Sandra White MSP (SNP Member of the further, calling the cartoon repellent and
Scottish Parliament) on 6 November 2015, offensive and saying she was horrified to
typified the growing popularity of antisemitic have retweeted it.
accusations against the Rothschild family.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she had
The retweet (shown below) was removed on 9 personally spoken to White, adding:
November, with an inadequate apology from
White.49 On 11 November, both White50 and I find it [the tweet] and the image it contains
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon51 issued further abhorrent. As I stated at Giffnock [synagogue],
apologies, sent directly to the Scottish Council I will not tolerate anti-Semitism or religious or
of Jewish Communities. These latter responses racial hatred of any kind
were relatively constructive, especially
compared with the Labour Partys response I look forward to working further with you
to Gerald Kaufmans Jewish money remarks, and further strengthening the links between
which was also occurring at this time. the Scottish Government and the Jewish
community in Scotland, which is and always
Whites initial apology was formulaic, saying will be an integral and highly valued part of
this tweet was re-tweeted in error and has Scottish society.

49. http://www.

50. http://www.

51. http://www.
26 Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015

The image combines media mogul Rupert

Murdoch as a puppet master of UK party
political leaders and a grotesque Rothschild
war suckling pig image, that included one
piglet branded as Mossad ISIS. Fittingly for
contemporary antisemitic conspiracy theory,
it is not clear if the image was created in
support of the far left or the far right.

The image superimposed on the grotesque

pig, above the word Rothschild contains three
Jewish Stars of David. One is above the word
bank (which sits below Lord Rothschilds
face), the others are superimposed on
President Obama and ex-President Bush. They
are flanked by cartoon hook noses and hands
being rubbed together, that come from one of
the most common US neo-Nazi cartoons.

Rothschild conspiracy theory

The Rothschild family has, since Napoleonic
times, been cited by antisemitic conspiracy
theorists as proof of supposed global Jewish
(or now Zionist) control of finance and war.
It is found in far right, far left, New Age and
Islamist settings and draws its power from
the old association of Jews with money.
The accusation derives from the familys
importance in nineteenth century banking
circles, and their citing by left and right as
supposed proof of the evils of capitalism and
the existence of a Jewish conspiracy.

The extent of belief in conspiracies was

shown in a Yougov poll52 in August 2015,
which found that 13% of the general public
agreed with the statement:

The world is controlled by a secretive elite

28% of those intending to vote for Jeremy

Corbyn MP as Labour leader agreed with
the statement. This is not to say that those
agreeing with the statement even know of
the Rothschild conspiracy theory, but it does
52.https:// suggest how many people may be susceptible
you-may-say-im- to conspiracy theories of all types.
Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015 27

These images variously depict the antisemitic

Rothschild conspiracy theory.

The original image that was cropped for The original image from which the
the Murdoch / Rothschild pro-war tweet Rothschild bank detail was then taken for
shown on p25. Top left it states F**K THE the war pig image.

A French antisemitic caricature of

Rothschild from an 1898 publication.

A modern meme summarising the

Rothschild conspiracy, here dating it back
to the American Revolution (1765-1783).
28 Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015

Mira Bar-Hillel is the Evening Standard
planning correspondent and an occasional
columnist for The Independent.

On 6 June 2015 she sent this tweet (right),

alleging that the ISIS attack on the
Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, was a
false flag operation on behalf of Israel or
Jews (shown by two Stars of David, one on
the main gun in the image and the other on
the jacket worn by the second gunman).

Prior to the General Election of 7 May, Bar-

Hillel wrote an article52, published on her own
website, entitled A week before Polling Day,
David Cameron elects to grovel to Britains
Jewish Community. Why?. The article
contained various assertions about the (then)
Prime Ministers relationship with British
Jews, before finally asking:

Or has the financial grip of Jewish donors

become a stranglehold?

52. https://
Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015 29



Overview: antisemitic terrorism Summary: reactions to Paris

Antisemitic terror attacks, perpetrated by and Copenhagen
Jihadists, are one of the most important The attacks in Paris dominated the political
aspects of modern antisemitism. This terrorism and media agenda, both in Britain and
is the most brutal expression of a far wider internationally. Those in Copenhagen, the
problem of antisemitic attitudes, ideology and following month, elicited far less interest
behaviour within diverse Muslim communities and coverage.
and movements in Britain, Europe and across
the globe. Many factors were responsible for
the disparity in reactions to Paris and
Antisemitic terrorism, when perpetrated by Copenhagen, including the number of
groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda, occurs casualties, the relative importance of Paris
within a larger context of global Jihadist itself, and the timing and visibility of the
terrorism against a broad range of other attacks. None of these factors particularly
targets. This was the case when four hostages relate to antisemitism.
were murdered in a Paris kosher store by a
Jihadist on 9 January 2015, two days after 12 Despite the above, many Jews (and others)
people (Police and staff) were murdered at the perceived a distinction in the overall
citys Charlie Hebdo magazine offices. A Police responses to the Jewish and non-Jewish
officer was murdered on 10 January, in what victims of the attacks, especially in the case
was later assessed to have probably been a of Paris.
failed attempt to attack a nearby Jewish school.
For example, there appeared to be no
The pattern of attacks was repeated the Jewish-related equivalent to the highly
following month in Copenhagen, when a visible and popular Twitter hashtag campaign
Jewish communal security volunteer (equivalent #JeSuisCharlie, expressing sympathy or
to CSTs own British volunteers) was murdered solidarity with those killed at the Charlie
by a Jihadist, whilst guarding a bat mitzvah Hebdo magazine.
party at the citys main synagogue early on 15
February 2015, hours after the same terrorist A further example was the relative lack of
had killed an attendee at an Art, Blasphemy media interest in why Jews in a shop, or
and Freedom of Expression meeting. attending a party in a synagogue, should be
targeted by Jihadist terrorists.
In both Paris and Copenhagen, Jews were
targeted for being Jewish, whereas the Taken together, the above two factors
magazine and the meeting were ostensibly suggested that the anti-Jewish attacks
targeted for what the Jihadists deemed to somehow had less meaning for society as a
be their blasphemous attitude to the Muslim whole and so did not need to be questioned,
Prophet Muhammad. analysed or opposed in the same way as the
attacks on the journalism-related targets.
30 Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015

1.8k mentions 44k mentions


January 2015
Twitter # Campaigns

5.5 million

Ahmed Coulibaly, who murdered four Jews

at the Hyper Cacher supermarket in Paris,
January 2015
Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015 31

Two other factors deserving of particular terror attacks. She expressed concern about
notice were widespread warnings against the persecution of Jews, saying the situation
potential for a surge in anti-Muslim hatred; is going back to the days of the 1930s in
and opposition to the Israeli Prime Ministers Europe, whereupon Willcox stated54:
presence at the Paris march attended by
world leaders. Many critics though of Israels policy would
suggest that the Palestinians suffer hugely at
The warnings against the terror attacks Jewish hands as well.
potential for triggering a wave of anti-Muslim
racism were sincere and correct. Nevertheless, Willcoxs response sparked an angry
in some cases, commentators (especially in reaction from many commentators. For
left-wing settings) appeared to be far more example, historian Simon Schama tweeted55
concerned with such potential outcomes than Appalling of @BBCTimWillcox to imply any
they were with the contemporary reality of and all JEWS (not Israelis) responsible for
Jews being murdered by Jihadi terrorists. treatment of Palestinians by hectoring lady in
Paris. Writing in the Spectator, Nick Cohen
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus commented56:
presence alongside other world leaders at the
Paris protest march was denounced by many Of course, Willcox would never say such a
anti-Israel groups and activists. In their anger, thing after the murder of Muslims, and rightly
they showed no concern as to the irony of so. He was interviewing an elderly Jewish lady,
their singling out the Prime Minister of Israel who was trying to mourn Jews killed for no
as being the one global leader who had no other reason than they were Jews in a Paris
right to join a march against the victims of supermarket.
terrorism: especially when Jews were amongst
the dead (including the one woman53 who was Change the religion make it Judaism, to be
killed in the Charlie Hebdo attack). precise. Change Islamism to Israel, and the
53. http://
most grotesque apologies for murder become
The attacks also sparked a fresh wave of acceptable; standard even. Jews must bear culture/212636/
accusations that ISIS is somehow a fake Israeli- collective responsibility for Israels crimes real cayat-slain-in-the-
front group, dedicated to spreading confusion and imagined.
amongst Muslims; and Western hatred of
54. https://www.
Islam and its followers. These accusations are On 12 January, Willcox tweeted a bland
underpinned by older antisemitic conspiracy apology: Really sorry for any offence caused
theories and have adherents in Islamist, far by a poorly phrased questionit was entirely 55. https://twitter.c
right, far left and New Age settings. unintentional.57 /status/5544045269

The following brief examples show a range Channel 4 News interview 56. http://blogs.
of mainstream media and political responses On 19 February, Jackie Long of Channel
to the Paris attacks, but are by no means 4 News interviewed Zvika Klein, an Israeli jews-for-attacks-on-
exhaustive. They include cases where hostility Jewish journalist who had filmed a series of jews/

to Israel appeared to dictate reactions to the antisemitic reactions to his walking through
57. https://twitter.
killings of French Jews. Paris whilst wearing a yarmulke (Jewish com/bbctimwillcox/
skull cap).58 4754048?lang=en
BBC News interview
On 11 January, Tim Willcox of BBC News The journalist had done this in order to 58. https://cst.
interviewed a French-Israeli woman attending research the prevalence of antisemitism, blog/2015/02/20/
a rally in memory of the victims of the Paris especially from local Muslims, in the aftermath not-an-act-of-
32 Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015

of the previous months Jihadist terror attacks Woodward subsequently issued an

on cartoonists, Police and Jews. unreserved apology.61

Nevertheless, Long repeatedly asked the David Ward MP

journalist to compare the situation with David Ward (then Liberal Democrat MP for
anti-Muslim hatred, including beginning the Bradford East) faced heavy criticism after
interview by asking what abuse a Muslim tweeting Je suis #Palestinian in protest
woman in a hijab might have faced. Later against Benjamin Netanyahu joining other
in the interview, the presenter noted world leaders in Paris on 11 January.62
that the journalist had said he was a Zionist
and asked if he had conducted an act The tweet mimicked #JeSuisCharlie that
of provocation.59 had trended after the attack on the Charlie
Hebdo magazine offices and was the latest
It is not acceptable that the mere act of a Jew in a long series of provocations by Ward.
wearing a head covering should be deemed There was nothing antisemitic in Wards tweet
a provocation and the journalist being a itself, but it illustrated the refusal of some
Zionist is irrelevant to that. Nor is there of Israels critics to countenance that it and
any need for a conversation about filmed its leaders can express concern about Jews,
antisemitic outbursts by those who appeared antisemitism, extremism and terrorism, on
to be Muslim (after a Jihadist terror attack), to an equal footing with other nations and
be somehow diminished by assumptions that world leaders.
Muslims face higher levels of street abuse.
A Liberal Democrat spokesman described the
The editor of Channel 4 News declined to tweet as being clearly in bad taste.
apologise for the interview.60

Conservative councillor
Shortly after the kosher store
attack, Colin Woodward, a
Conservative Councillor in
Bishops Stortford, replied to
a tweet asking Are the kosher
stores in Paris open today?
59. https://www. And if so, who in France will say
#IllShopwithYou, by tweeting back: Far Left and anti-racist left responses
to Paris terrorism
60. http://jewish Probably more so than shops in Denial and obfuscation are a common
com/channel-4- #GazaUnderAttack reaction on parts of the anti-racist left to
interview-jewish- antisemitism from Muslim sources, even
This insensitive conflation of two separate including Jihadist terrorism against Jews. This
issues sparked a further exchange of pattern was repeated in the case of the
comments that included Woodward accusing Paris killings. his critics of you could be seen to value
probably-stores- one race above another and being quick There were two particularly striking examples
to score a political point (despite his own of leading far left figures omitting any
62. http://www.
initial behaviour). mention whatsoever of the Jewish identity of victims. These examples are summarised
Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015 33

below. They also show how some far left and website on 14 January65, where the comments
anti-racist groups preferred to urgently warn chain included people asking why Galloway
against any potential anti-Muslim backlash, had not mentioned Jews. CSTs Director of
rather than against further anti-Jewish terror Communications twice posted into the chain,
attacks. noting the similarity of Galloways omission with
Lindsey Germans (above) article for Stop the War.
Lindsey German and the Stop the War Both postings were deleted by the Socialist Unity
Coalition website moderator.
From its inception in 2001, the Stop the
War Coalition has been Britains leading Morning Star newspaper
campaign umbrella of far left groups. Jeremy Unlike other far left outlets, the Morning Star
Corbyn MPs close association with the group newspaper did run an editorial specifically
included being its chair from 20112015. noting and condemning the murders at
The group was also notable for its partnership the kosher store. Entitled No place for
with British Islamist groups, especially anti-Semitism it even praised (then) Home
those aligned with the international Secretary Theresa May MPs declaration of
Muslim Brotherhood.63 support for British Jews (but did also criticise
government complacency hitherto).
Lindsey German, convenor of Stop the The article demanded actions against
War wrote an article for its website entitled antisemitism by this Tory-led government,
What is missing from the media coverage Churches, politicians and parties which
of the Charlie Hebdo murders?.64 This profess patriotism, trade unions and the
spoke of the Charlie Hebdo killings and left, but made no mention whatsoever of
the subsequent sieges but made no actual Muslim or Jihadist antisemitism. It included 66:
mention of Jewish victims, nor of the kosher
store. It stressed that the events have Anti-semitism is known as the oldest
a context and spoke about conflicts in hatred for good reason. 63. https://www.
Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. Anti-Muslim org/wp/wp-
discrimination and Islamophobia were warned For 2,000 years, Jewish people have been the publications/
against, but antisemitism went unmentioned. targets of hatred, prejudice and discrimination free/the-muslim-
in different parts of the world the-uk2.pdf

George Galloway MP and Socialist

64. http://www.
Unity website Attacking, criticising or making special
Days after the Paris attacks, George Galloway demands on people because they are Jewish index.php/news-
MP (then Respect MP for Bradford West), is anti-semitism. german/579-what-
spoke at a Gaza fundraising event for World media-coverage-of-
Charity Organisation. He began by speaking Attacking or criticising Jewish people or murders
of the 17 people killed in the attacks, notably institutions in the sincere belief that they are
making no mention of Jews: wrong is not. 65. http://
some were shoppers, some were workers Condemning Israeli state policies, or the hebdo-gaza/
in a shop, some were police officers, some actions of Israeli governments, is not in
were Muslims, some were Christians, some itself anti-semitic. 66. https://www.
were atheists and of course the journalists
who formed the majority of the dead. At the same time, Jewish sensitivities about anti-semitism#.
the conditions in which Israel was founded
The speech was run by the Socialist Unity should be understood and appreciated 67. http://www.
34 Antisemitic Discourse in Britain 2015

Ahlul Bayt Islamic Mission

Ahlul Bayt Islamic Mission is a Shia Muslim
activist group describing itself as one of the
most important English Islamic Shia news
services on the internet.67

It posted the below graphic in response to

those world leaders who marched together
against the Paris attacks, implying that the
attacks revealed a behind the scenes plot
by Zionists, America and other heads of
the arrogant powers to undermine Islam
and Muslims.
This blatant antisemitic image, and others similar to it, was used to advertise a neo-Nazi demonstration on 4
July 2015 in Golders Green, a Jewish neighbourhood of north London.

The image was propagated by neo-Nazi provocateur Joshua Bonehill-Paine, who was subsequently sentenced,
on 17 December 2016, to three years and four months imprisonment for incitement to racial hatred.

 o work at all times for the physical T
 o help those who are victims of antisemitic
protection and defence of British Jews. hatred, harassment or bias.

 represent British Jews on issues of racism, T
 o promote research into racism,
antisemitism, extremism, policing and antisemitism and extremism; and to use this
security. research for the benefit of both the Jewish
community and society in general.
 o promote good relations between British
Jews and the rest of British society by T
 o speak responsibly at all times, without
working towards the elimination of racism, exaggeration or political favour, on
and antisemitism in particular. antisemitism and associated issues.

 facilitate Jewish life by protecting Jews
from the dangers of antisemitism, and
antisemitic terrorism in particular.


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