HEADLINE ABOUT JEWISH FUTURE IN UK MISLEADING ‘FOR SEVERAL REASONS’
The JC headline claiming “63% say there may be no future for Jews in UK” is highly questionable and misleading for several reasons.
First, the headline bears little, if any, relation to the question asked: “Since the protests against the war in Gaza began, have you or your friends had a discussion about whether there is a future for Jews in the UK?” Having a discussion about something is different from taking a particular line in that discussion.
Second, the percentage calculated is wholly unreliable because it is based on the combined views of 150 respondents and an unknown number of their friends (... have you or your friends had a discussion ...?). Depending on the assumptions made about this additional number, and the distribution of views among them, the true proportion could be any figure between about five per cent and the 63 per cent claimed.
Third, approaching 150 people on the street does not create a random sample of British Jews, so the findings cannot be generalised to the UK Jewish population as a whole.
Finally, conducting research in the midst of a conflict can often be misleading. Views adopted at such times are often more extreme than usual, and must be understood in that light.
In 2010, JPR asked 4,081 Jews nationwide whether they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: “Because of events in Israel I feel uncomfortable as a Jewish person living in Britain.” After conducting tests for representativeness, the results showed that 26 per cent agreed, one-fifth of whom agreed strongly. Given recent events, it is distinctly possible that views have shifted on this question since that time, but we will not know with any certainty until the issue is researched again in a robust manner. Dr Keith Kahn-Harris, editor, Jewish Journal of Sociology and project director, European Research Archive at the Institute for Jewish Policy Research; Dr Jonathan Boyd, executive director, IJPR; Dr Ben Gidley, associate professor, School of Anthropology, University of Oxford; Professor David Feldman, director, Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck College; Dr David Graham, senior research fellow, IJPR; Margaret Harris, emeritus professor, Aston University; Dr Helena Miller, director of research and evaluation, UJIA; Stephen Miller, emeritus professor , City University; Marlena Schmool, former community research director, Board of Deputies; Daniel Vulkan, former senior researcher, Board of Deputies