Antisemitic Discourse in Britain in 2009

5 Nov 2010 by CST

CST's latest report, “Antisemitic Discourse in Britain in 2009”, is published today.

This is CST’s third annual report on antisemitic discourse. It is being published now to coincide with the conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism, being held in Ottawa, Canada. (This is the second such international conference, and follows last year’s inaugural London event, which was hosted by the Foreign Office, with CST helping to co-organise the parallel Experts Forum.)

The Discourse Report may be read in pdf format here at the publications section of CST’s website. (Note, the report is 58 pages in length, including graphics.)   

As in previous years, the report examines public discussion of antisemitism, Jews and Jewish issues in mainstream media and politics. Explicit antisemitism remains uncommon in mainstream British discourse and it is not the report’s intention to brand those who feature in it as being antismites.

Nevertheless, old antisemitic motifs remain remarkably persistent, especially in relation to Zionism and Israel; and it is hoped that this report will help explain why CST, the Jewish community and many other observers note and fear the ongoing development of this trend.

In particular, this year’s report examines the increased mainstreaming of a relatively new charge, whereby Israel is compared to Nazi Germany and Israel’s supporters are compared to Nazis. This causes significant upset to Jews and is an antisemitic abuse of the memory of the Holocaust.

Other sections of the report include:

How antisemitic conspiracy themes endure in modern depictions of American Jewry, and of “Zionists” and “Zionism” generally, including here in Britain.  

The play “Seven Jewish Children”, which typified the emerging trend to depict Israel and Zionism as a mass Jewish psychological reaction to the trauma of the Holocaust.

The revival of the medieval Blood Libel, claiming that Jews steal children in order to use their blood. This returned as a shocking example of how antisemitic rumours sweep through today’s global village.

A section noting numerous public declarations against antisemitism during 2009, including from Government, commentators and British Muslims.

(Hard copies of the report may be obtained direct from CST’s office.)

The graphic below features on the cover of the report. It shows a sticker found on the University of Manchester campus in January 2009. It is anti-Zionist and anti-American, but is also antisemitic due its grotesque abuse of Nazi imagery (i.e. the swastika inside the Star of David, flanked by skull and crossbones that are very similar to SS death’s head insignia).


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“Since 2003, CST has been a stalwart supporter of ODIHR in its efforts to effectively monitor antisemitic hate crime in the OSCE Region. With its rigorous methodology and innovative partnerships with the British police, it is viewed by many as representing the gold standard for NGO responses to all forms of hate crime. I wish CST all success in its exciting new phase of work.”

Michael Georg Link
OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights