One-third of young Brits believe antisemitic conspiracies, survey claims

Around 20 per cent of the British public believe Jews have outsized influence in world finance


NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 28: Detail of an anti-vaccination patch resembling a holocaust badge as people protest the Covid-19 vaccine mandate for municipal workers during a protest at Gracie Mansion on October 28, 2021 in New York City. All city workers, excluding uniformed correction officers, are required to have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 5pm on October 29th. (Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

A new survey claims that around one-third of the British population believe antisemitic conspiracy theories amid a“shockingly” high uptick in anti-Jewish incidents perpetrated by under-18s.

Hope not Hate, a non-profit that says its mission is “to work tirelessly to expose and oppose far-right extremism”, said its latest study found that 34 per cent of Britons aged 18 to 24 think it is “probably” or “definitely true” that Jews have inordinate influence over the global banking and financial systems while 20 per cent of the survey’s sample of 4,010 respondents across all age groups answered similarly.

The survey suggested that a number of factors were responsible for the figures, with dissatisfaction over Covid policies, deindustrialisation, globalisation, and trans-rights activism among those listed. 

The report also claimed that distrust of the mainstream media resulting in the use of online sources may have led more young people into contact with conspiracy theories.

“While openness to conspiracy theory does not indicate that people are necessarily bought into the idea, high degrees of openness among 18-24s in our poll should come as some concern,” it stated.

It continued: “To some extent, young people’s low trust in political institutions explains their openness to conspiracies about a ‘new world order’ where a group of elites control events, this opens a clear route to more extreme beliefs.”

The charity also warned that “reactionary identity issues amongst young people” were connected to widespread antisemitic sentiments.

“We find that it is younger people who are far more likely to voice support for a reactionary right party that stands against ‘woke culture,’ while the strongest opposition comes from older respondents,” the report stated.

Across the first six months of 2022 antisemitic incidents in the UK involved a higher percentage of minors among both victims and offenders than in previous years, a report published by the Community Security Trust (CST) earlier this month found. The 786 incidents recorded by CST were the fifth-highest total over a six-month period since the agency began its monitoring in 1984. 

While the latest records are a significant decrease of 43 percent from 1,300 plus incidents recorded between January and June 2021, the CST said 2021’s spike was mostly fuelled by last May’s Gaza-Israel war.

Binyomin Gilbert, Programme Manager at Campaign Against Antisemitism, told the JC: "These are frightening statistics. Even a fraction of these figures would serve to highlight just how widespread antisemitic conspiracy theories have become. 

“The numbers here are downright terrifying. It is particularly alarming that these tropes are so popular among the younger population, which raises serious questions about the quality of formal education in this area and the critical role that social media plays in propagating these racist ideas. It means that the fight against antisemitism is only going to have to intensify and more must be done to prevent the indoctrination of children into antisemitic conspiracy online,” he continued.

Dave Rich, Director of Policy at the CST also said in light of the news: “The indication that younger people are more susceptible to antisemitic beliefs than older age groups goes against everything we thought we knew about decreasing levels of racism, and greater acceptance of diversity, amongst younger generations. 

“It suggests that the growing popularity of conspiracy theories, especially online, has helped to revive conspiratorial views about Jews, money, and power that ought to be consigned to history. This is an alarm call and we urgently need educational solutions to prevent the further spread of these antisemitic views.”

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