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Britain Surveys

Independent/BMG Poll: Three in five Britons say that Labour have handled antisemitism allegations badly

Source: bmg research

With allegations of antisemitism within the Labour Party continuing to roll on, BMG polling on behalf of the Independent reveals that three in five Britons feel the Labour party have handed the allegations badly.

The poll, conducted between 7th and 10th August, asked a representative sample of 1481 Brits how well or badly the recent allegations of antisemitism have been handled by the Labour party. Some 60% said the allegations had been handled badly, including 30% who said the allegations had been handled “very badly”. Just 8% said the allegations had been well, with almost a third of respondents were unsure (31%).

Those respondents saying Labour have handled the allegations badly include 59% of those that reported voting Labour in last years General Election.

Just over one in four say Jeremy Corbyn is antisemitic

Asked directly whether they perceived Jeremy Corbyn to be antisemitic, 27% said that he is, with more respondents, some 35%, saying he is not. 38% said they didn’t know. And while many Labour voters believe Labour have handled the allegations poorly, far fewer say they believe the Labour leader himself is anti-Semitic – just 11%.

More respondents described the Labour party as institutionally antisemitic (37%), but again only a small proportion of Labour voters said so (12%).

High proportions say examples included in IHRA definition are not antisemitic

While our findings show that many think Labour have dealt with the allegations badly, the polling revels an interesting contradiction. We find that many do not view the examples which have not been included within Labour’s definition of antisemitism, but which are contained in the definition provided by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA), as antisemitic.

One of the main sources of controversy throughout the scandal has been Labour’s decision not to include certain examples included in the IHRA definition as antisemitic. While Labour’s code does endorse the IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism and includes behaviours it lists as likely to be regarded as antisemitic, drafters opted to leave out four examples from their definition.

In our poll, respondents were show each of the examples and asked to state whether they felt the actions described were examples of antsemitic behaviour.

39% said that “accusing Jewish people of being more loyal to Israel than their home country” was not antisemitic, 13 percentage points more than said it was (26%).

And while respondents who said each of the other examples were indeed instances of antisemitism outnumbered those who did not, 28% said “requiring higher standards of behaviour from Israel than other nations” is not antisemitic, as did 25% in the instance of “claiming that Israel’s existence as a state is a racist endeavour”, and 21% for “comparing contemporary Israeli policies to those of the Nazis”.  What is also consistent throughout is the high levels of uncertainly, with as many as 36% saying they were unsure whether or not the behaviour described in the example would constitute antisemitism.

 An article based on these polling results, released by the Independent, can be found here.

Methodology, fieldwork dates, and a full breakdown of these results can be found here.