Third of Britons: Dislike of Jews 'understandable' because of Israel

More than a third of Britons believe dislike of Jews is understandable given the actions of Israel.

According to a Europe-wide survey on prejudice and discrimination on the continent, conducted by Germany's Friedrich Ebert Foundation, 13.9 per cent of people in the UK believe that Jews wield too much influence in this country.

Although 71.5 per cent of those surveyed said that they believed Jews enriched British culture – the second highest number out of the eight countries included in the report – more than a fifth claimed that Jews "try to take advantage of having been victims during the Nazi era".

Nearly 23 per cent supported the view that Jews "in general do not care about anything or anyone but their own kind".

More than two out of five Britons asked agreed that Israel was "conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians", and nearly 36 per cent said that considering Israel's policy, they could "understand why people do not like Jews".

The study, entitled "Intolerance, Prejudice and Discrimination," will be officially presented in Tel Aviv at the start of May but has been published this week to coincide with Yom Ha'Shoah.

About 1,000 people were survey in each country, including in Poland, France and Hungary.

The authors also looked at attitudes toward immigration and Muslims, with questions on social issues including homophobia, sexism and other forms of extremism.

In their conclusions, the authors noted that "the data also shows antisemitism often appearing in the guise of criticism of Israel".

They added: "Antisemitic criticism of Israel comes close to majority support in all European countries.

"In that context we also need to discuss whether secondary antisemitism – refusal to acknowledge the crimes of the Holocaust – has taken the place of traditional antisemitism."

    Last updated: 1:20pm, April 17 2012