Four out of five British Jews believe that anti-Semitism has infected British politics, the highest figure in the European Union, and almost a third are considering leaving the country, according to the world’s largest survey of Jewish people.
The EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency found that 84 per cent of British Jews think anti-Semitism is a problem “within political life” in a survey of the bloc, which reported that nine out of 10 Jews in Europe felt anti-Semitism had increased over the past five years.
Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party has struggled to quash accusations that his Left-wing party is anti-Semitic, which were fuelled by his wavering over the internationally accepted definition of anti-Semitism.
Frans Timmermans, the First Vice-President of the European Commission and Jean-Claude Juncker’s deputy, was asked about Mr Corbyn at a Brussels press conference to launch the survey on Monday.
Mr Timmermans, who is part of the same European political family as Mr Corbyn, said that anyone who understood European history, which included the UK, should know that “dog whistle words” could unlock people’s “darkest angels”.
“Antisemitism is the canary in the mine. Whenever things in our societies go wrong. Whenever identity politics comes into the frame again, the first victims are always the Jews,” he said.
“There’s a responsibility on every politician to be very much aware of this, to be hypersensitive to it and to react to it accordingly, immediately,” he said in a swipe at Mr Corbyn.
Labour anti-Semitism row: The catalogue of historical allegations against Jeremy Corbyn
Věra Jourová, the EU commissioner for justice, said, “I read quite a lot of his quotes and a lot of articles and he is trying to get out of this label but, OK, I hope he will pay attention to this survey.
“This is a serious message we have received from the Jewish community,” she told The Guardian.
Mr Timmermans also criticised Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban for his anti-Semitic poster campaign targeting George Soros.
“Since prime minister Orban is so vocal in saying he wants to combat anti-Semitism,” he said, “I would call upon him to avoid dog whistle words.”
The survey questioned Jews in 12 EU countries, including Britain, France and Germany.
Ninety-five per cent of Jews in France believe antisemitism is a very or fairly big problem, up from 85 per cent when the poll was last run six years ago.
Eighty-five per cent of European Jews consider anti-Semitism to be the biggest social or political problem in the country and 89 percent of Jews think anti-Semitism is most problematic on the internet and social media.
The survey of 16,300 Jewish people in Europe found that almost a third avoid attending events or visiting Jewish sites because they do not feel safe and 38 percent considered emigrating.
Twenty-eight per cent of respondents had been harassed at least once in the past year but 79 per cent did not report the harassment.