The report by CST and JPR on anti-Semitism in Great Britain, the biggest ever survey of attitudes to Jews and Israel in this country, was two years in the planning and involved months of fieldwork and analysis to answer what sounds like a simple question: how anti-Semitic is our country?
In fact, this question is far from straightforward. You can measure anti-Semitism in different ways: by anti-Semitic incident and hate crime statistics (as CST and the police do), or by opinion polls, or by taking your lead from newspaper headlines and political controversies.
And then there is the difficult question of how much anti-Semitism the community can reasonably put up with before it begins to affect our daily lives.
This report takes a completely new approach, by distinguishing between “counting anti-Semites” – how many people are there in Britain who truly hate us? – and “measuring anti-Semitism” – how many people believe one or more anti-Semitic stereotypes, often without feeling any conscious ill-will towards our community. It looks at attitudes to Israel as well as to Jews, and provides, for the first time, statistical evidence of the relationship between the two.
It asks how many people are willing to use violence against Jews. It also digs deeper into the sensitive issue of anti-Semitism in Muslim communities, and on the left and right of our politics.
We did all this because we need a reliable body of evidence to help us understand and tackle these problems.
That is what this report provides.