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August 22, 2022 2:52 pm
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One-Third of British Population Believe in Antisemitic Conspiracies, New Survey Says

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

An antisemitic graphic shared on social media blaming the COVID-19 pandemic on a Jewish conspiracy. Image: Hope Not Hate.

A recent survey has found that antisemitic attitudes among British youth are “shockingly” high, amid an upsurge in anti-Jewish incidents in Britain perpetrated by minors.

Hope not Hate, a non-profit that describes itself as an anti-racist watchdog, found that 34% of Britons aged 18-24 believe it is “probably” or “definitely true” that Jews have inordinate control of the world’s banking and financial systems. 20% of the survey’s cohort of 4,010 respondents across all ages gave a similar answer.

Hope not Hate listed several factors contributing to the prevalence of the belief, including widespread unhappiness with COVID-19 lockdowns, deindustrialization, globalization, and the trans-rights movement. It also said that distrust of established media sources has led young people to seek out alternative information sources on social media, where antisemitic conspiracy theories prime users to accept theories of Jewish power and control.

“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,” the report said. “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.”

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The report also found a connection between “reactionary identity issues amongst young people” and the prevalence of antisemitic conspiracies.

“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 reported stated.

Antisemitic incidents in the United Kingdom during the first six months of this year involved a higher proportion of minors among both victims and offenders than in previous years, according to a separate report published in August by the Community Security Trust (CST).

Overall, the 786 incidents recorded by the CST marked the fifth-highest total for the six month period since the agency began systematically monitoring antisemitism in 1984. While this figure marked a decrease of 43 percent from the more than 1,300 incidents recorded in the same timeframe in 2021, the CST emphasized that last year’s dramatic spike was largely driven by the war in Gaza last May.

“The 786 figure may represent a ‘new normal’ — a baseline of antisemitism in the UK — which far exceeds the half-year totals reported to CST before 2017,” the report stated.

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