Race-hate comments ‘normalised by web’
The Community Security Trust has for the first time produced a report into antisemitic rhetoric in political speech, public discussion and the media in the UK.
Although explicit antisemitism "is extremely rare" and "taboo" in public life, the report says that extremists are expressing antisemitic themes through "a demonising language that depicts Zionism as a great hidden conspiracy, centred in Israel and the USA against the rest of the humanity".
The CST regularly publishes statistics into antisemitic incidents in Britain. But its 56-page glossy report, Antisemitic Discourse in Britain in 2007, which is published on Monday (September 1) and is intended to be updated annually, marks a departure in examining contemporary antisemitic ideology.
The report notes the potential for the spread of antisemitic conspiracy theories, citing a 2007 UK poll where half of the respondents thought Jews were "probably" more loyal to Israel than their own country, and a third thought that American Jews control US foreign policy.
It also argues that the internet is "normalising" antisemitic discourse on the websites of organisations "that would not otherwise tolerate antisemitism" - adding that this is a particular problem in the blogging sections of newspapers and bookselling outlets.
The report carries critiques of several examples, including the claim that warmongering "Zionist" neocons are behind a belligerent US foreign policy; the fallout from the academic boycott campaign against Israel; and the writings of radical cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
It describes the English edition of al-Qaradawi's book, Fatawa on Palestine, published last year, as a "startling combination of religious incitement to both terrorism and antisemitism in which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is framed by theological prophecy of a ‘battle' between ‘all Muslims and Jews' in which Muslims will triumph."