BDS linked to antisemitism, yet only 10% of UK citizens pro-boycott - Poll

Another 42% said they either had no opinion, some due to a lack of knowledge on the matter. The remaining 2% declined to give an opinion on the matter.

Jewish Community protesting antisemitism in Manchester demonstration (photo credit: RAPHI BLOOM)
Jewish Community protesting antisemitism in Manchester demonstration
(photo credit: RAPHI BLOOM)
There is a clear correlation between BDS sentiments and antisemitism in the UK, according to a report released this week by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) and the Community Security Trust (CST).
Ten antisemitic statements were presented to those being surveyed. The poll found that 58% of those who believed that Israel is an apartheid state identified with five of the antisemitic statements listed, while some 52% of them agreed with six of the ten statements.
However, the report found that despite such sentiments, most non-Jewish people in the UK either oppose or have no clear view about claims that Israel is an apartheid state and/or should be boycotted. Those who believed such statements were only a minority, but still a significant one.
Furthermore, this minority is twice as likely to contend that Israel is an apartheid state (21%) than to endorse the idea of a boycott of the country (10%).
Of the 4,005 British respondents, only 10% agreed that Israel should be boycotted, compared to 46% who disagreed, according to the Ipsos MORI polling company, which has conducted the survey for JPI and CST for the last few years. Another 42% said they had no opinion, some due to a lack of knowledge on the matter. The remaining 2% declined to give an opinion.
“It is all too easy in heated debates about complex political matters to forget, or even dismiss, the fact that not everyone has an opinion,” wrote the authors of the report, David Graham and Jonathan Boyd.
Muslim respondents were almost four times more likely to agree to boycott Israel than the average, the report said. But even among Muslims, the boycott contingent was in the minority, with only 16% of respondents from that group disagreeing that Israel should be boycotted.
Graham and Boyd also found that women and young people were far more likely than any other group to be undecided or neutral. “In the apartheid question, the undecided accounted for the majority of respondents under 30, compared to only 26% undecided among those in their 70s,” they said.
“It was also empirically demonstrated that the greater the level of anti-Jewish sentiment held by members of the British public, the more likely they are to agree with the idea of boycotting Israel. This is also the case for the apartheid contention – although here, the relationship is weaker,” Graham and Boyd explained.
“This suggests that those who do hold opinions on these issues do not necessarily view apartheid and boycott as being two sides of the same coin. Of the two, agreement with an Israel boycott is a stronger marker and predictor of underlying antisemitism than is the apartheid contention,” they added.
Mark Gardner, the communications director of CST – British Jewry’s watchdog and security group – told JTA that the analysis shows that there is “untapped potential for both sides.”
He hopes the data from the survey “will be used as an effective tool to better understand where the fight against antisemitism is impacted by BDS and [through] attempts to delegitimize Israel.”

JTA contributed to this report.