Contrary to the narrative portrayed by the media furore surrounding Labour’s reported ‘problem’ with anti-Semitism, data curated by YouGov actually shows that since Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party in 2015, anti-Semitic views amongst Labour party voters have actually reduced substantially.
Not only does the data show a marked decrease in the number of Labour voters in 2017 agreeing with anti-Semitic statements compared to those in 2015, the statistics show that all other political parties (apart from the Lib Dems whose results are comparable to Labour’s) have a far bigger problem with their voters agreeing with anti-Semitic statements.
In August 2017 YouGov asked 1614 adults from across the political spectrum whether 5 different stereotypical anti-Semitic tropes about Jewish people were either ‘Definitely true’ ‘Probably true’, Definitely not true’ or ‘Probably not true’.
And, when comparing the responses to those given by 3411 respondents to almost identical questions in 2015, the results were profound.
These results compare with 31% of Conservative voters who agreed with the statement that ‘Jews chase money more than other people’ in 2015, whilst in 2017 this had declined slightly to 27% who still agreed with the statement.
The answers given for YouGov’s first statement show that not only are anti-Semitic views amongst Conservative voters significantly higher than Labour voters in general, the rate of decline for anti-Semitic views amongst Labour voters is more than double the rate of Conservative voters – falling 8% in two years for Labour voters compared to a 3% decline in anti-Semitic views among Tory voters.
Furthermore, the stark difference in results between parties from the first statement holds firm throughout the comparison.
In 2015, 16% of Labour voters agreed with the statement that ‘Jews hold too much power in the media’, compared to 11% in 2017.
This compares with 17% of Conservative voters agreeing with the statement in 2015, with a 2% reduction to 15% in 2017.
In 2015, 11% of Labour voters agreed with the statement that ‘Jews talk about the Holocaust too much in order to get sympathy’, declining to 8% in 2017.
This decline from Labour voters is in stark contrast to Tory voters who actually saw a rise in their supporters agreeing in this statement – with 12% agreeing with it in 2015 compared to 13% in 2017.
You can view YouGov’s dataset for 2015 here.
You can view YouGov’s comparable dataset for 2017 here.
Fellow Independent Media website, The Skwawkbox, has conducted its own analysis from the data and drawn similar results, showing that whilst anti-Semitic views are clearly still held amongst Labour voters, the problem appears to be more prevalent amongst Conservative voters, and also looks to be declining at a slower rate amongst right-wing voters compared to Jeremy Corbyn’s left-wing Labour Party.
The facts are that anti-Semitism is clearly still a major problem across all of Britain – not just in the Labour Party as the current deluge of media coverage would seem to elicit.
However, anti-Semitism, like all other forms of racism and discrimination, needs to be stamped out entirely across the globe – and, if the new left truly wants to succeed in its aims, we must ensure as a priority that all forms of racism and discrimination are completely eradicated within our own movement.
And, despite the contents of this article, it is not good enough for our movement to simply point to the Tories and say ‘look over there – they are worse than us!’ – because, whilst this may well be true with regards to all forms of racism, there is absolutely no excuse for anybody, in 2018, to hold racist or discriminatory views of any kind – least of all amongst ourselves on the left.