CST Blog

Annual Antisemitic Discourse Report

16 December 2013

CST’s final annual report of the year, Antisemitic Discourse in Britain in 2012 is now available in pdf format. Read it here on CST's website.

The report contains introductory sections (pages 4-13) on Jewish life, antisemitism and anti-Zionism. It then (pages 14-36) features developments in antisemitic discourse during the year.

The report cites numerous mainstream publications, groups and individuals who are not necessarily antisemitic, but whose behaviour may well impact upon attitudes concerning Jews and antisemitism.

Future CST Blogs will run excerpts from the report. Below, the Executive Summary (page  3):

  • Explicit antisemitism against Jews per se, simply for their being Jewish, is rare in British public life and within mainstream political media discourse. 
  • However, explicit antisemitism, whether it is hateful abuse and threats, or more seemingly refined types of discourse, is increasingly encountered by Jews, due to the scale, spread and impact of social media.
  • Historically, antisemitism has included allegations of Jewish conspiracy, wealth, power, cunning, immorality and hostility to others. These allegations, whilst rarely made against Jews per se, still resonate within some mainstream discourse about Israel, or ‘Zionists’ or ‘the Jewish lobby’. The further one moves from the mainstream, for example into more extreme activist groups or websites, the more pronounced and obviously antisemitic these resonances become.
  • Islamist and leftist circles are increasingly prone to blaming ‘Zionism’ or ‘Zionists’ for the hostility of others towards Muslims and/or Islam. This ‘anti-Zionist’ conspiracy theory relies upon older antisemitic stereotypes of Jewish wealth and cunning, allegedly controlling the media and politicians. It is an antisemitic anti-Zionism.
  • Some liberal-leftist circles are reluctant to criticise, or even acknowledge, antisemitism from Muslim sources, or within left-wing sources.
  • Fears and concerns about antisemitism, as expressed by mainstream Jewish communal bodies, are often ignored, or even maliciously misrepresented within supposedly ‘progressive’ circles, including some media, trade unions and churches.
  • In 2012, perceptions of antisemitism appeared to play an important part in Jewish voting patterns at the London mayoral election. Indeed, this seems to have been a significant, or perhaps even decisive, factor in the victory of Boris Johnson (Conservative) over Ken Livingstone (Labour).
  • As is often the case, most examples of antisemitism-related controversies in 2012 were in some way connected to attitudes towards Israel, or its supposed supporters. Similarly, depictions or allegations of supposed ‘pro-Israel’ lobbies, or power, were fundamental to many of these controversies.
  • The largest antisemitism-related controversy concerning mainstream media content in 2012 was a cartoon in the Guardian, by Steve Bell. This depicted Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary William Hague MP as glove puppets of the Israeli Prime Minister. Bell resolutely denied any antisemitic intent and the cartoon was not removed.
  • Iran and some fringe conspiracy-theory groups claimed that the London Olympics were a Zionist conspiracy. The primary justification for these bizarre claims was that the London 2012 logo supposedly resembled the word ‘Zion’ (in order to subliminally promote ‘Zionism’).
  • Both the Guardian newspaper and The Economist magazine altered articles on their websites, due to antisemitism-related concerns.
  • An offensive tweet by an Amnesty International official, concerning three Jewish MPs, was deemed antisemitic by CST and other Jewish communal bodies. Amnesty apologised, but did not deem it to be antisemitic.


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