Four in ten

Jews would ‘se­ri­ously con­sider’ em­i­grat­ing if Cor­byn be­came PM

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY LEE HARPIN PO­LIT­I­CAL ED­I­TOR

NEARLY 40 per cent of Bri­tish Jews would “se­ri­ously con­sider em­i­grat­ing” if Jeremy Cor­byn be­came Prime Min­is­ter, a JC poll has found.

And in the 35-54 age group — those most con­cerned about the prospect of a Cor­byn gov­ern­ment — over half say em­i­gra­tion is a se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion.

Amongst Jewish women, fear is so great that over 44 per cent say they would give se­ri­ous thought to leav­ing the coun­try.

51.8 per cent of Bri­tish Jews said they would not se­ri­ously con­sider leav­ing, with a fur­ther 9.7 per cent say­ing they did not know.

The re­sults of the lat­est sur­vey car­ried out for the JC by polling com­pany Sur­va­tion sup­port claims made by the for­mer Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks at the week­end that the Labour leader is con­tribut­ing to Jews openly ques­tion­ing whether Bri­tain is still a safe place to raise their chil­dren.

With re­cent pop­u­la­tion sur­veys sug­gest­ing there are now up­wards of 290,000 Jews liv­ing in the UK, the poll re­sults means that the elec­tion of a Labour gov­ern­ment would leave around 115,000 se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing a new life abroad.

At Wed­nes­day’s Prime Min­is­ter’s Ques­tions, Theresa May told MPs: “Jewish peo­ple liv­ing in this coun­try should feel safe and se­cure — and not have to worry about their fu­tures in their own coun­try.”

Jonathan Gold­stein, chair of the Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil, said it was “deeply wor­ry­ing” that “mem­bers of our com­mu­nity would even con­sider leav­ing Bri­tain be­cause they feel threat­ened by the prospect of our po­ten­tial next Prime Min­is­ter.”

Sur­va­tion car­ried out their field­work be­tween Au­gust 13 and Septem­ber 4, while Mr Cor­byn’s past speeches at­tack­ing Bri­tish ‘Zion­ists’ and his at­ten­dance at a wreath lay­ing cer­e­mony for Pales­tinian ter­ror­ists con­nected to the 1972 Mu­nich mas­sacre made head­lines.

Asked to re­act to two state­ments, “If Jeremy Cor­byn be­came Prime Min­is­ter I would se­ri­ously con­sider em­i­grat­ing” and “…I would not se­ri­ously con­sider em­i­grat­ing”, 38.5 per cent of the 710 who were quizzed said they would.

In Jan­uary 2015, the week af­ter the Paris mur­ders — and nine months be­fore Mr Cor­byn was elected Labour leader — Sur­va­tion asked: “Have last week’s events in Paris made you con­sider leav­ing Bri­tain?”

Only 11 per cent said then that they would, mean­ing there has been a huge rise in the num­ber wor­ried about their fu­ture in Bri­tain.

The new poll makes it clear that younger and fe­male Jews are most likely to con­sider leav­ing.

Of all women quizzed, 44.1 per cent said they would se­ri­ously con­sider em­i­grat­ing — against 32. 7 per cent of men.

And of those aged 35-54, 50.8 per cent sug­gested they would se­ri­ously con­sider em­i­grat­ing.

Amongst those aged 18-34, the fig­ure dips to 28.9 per cent — while amongst those over 55, 35.8 per cent would se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing leav­ing the coun­try.

Re­gion­ally, there are small vari­a­tions. For Jews liv­ing out­side the two most highly pop­u­lated re­gions of Lon­don and the North West, 40.8 per cent said they would se­ri­ously con­sider em­i­gra­tion. In the North West, the fig­ure is 32.2 per cent — while in Lon­don it is 38.5 per cent.

Jonathan Gold­stein added: “This is deeply wor­ry­ing. Our com­mu­nity is open, con­fi­dent and proud of our tra­di­tions, while at the same time also be­ing proud of how we are in­te­grated across so­ci­ety and pub­lic life. The cur­rent dif­fi­cul­ties with the Labour lead­er­ship serve as a sharp re­minder that our val­ues and our peo­ple have of­ten needed de­fend­ing.

“Ul­ti­mately, we must also re­mind ev­ery­one that an­tisemitism is the world’s most re­li­able early warn­ing sign of a ma­jor threat to free­dom.”

On Sun­day, in an in­ter­view on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, Lord Sacks said: “When peo­ple hear the kind of lan­guage that has been com­ing out of Labour, that’s been brought to the sur­face among Jeremy Cor­byn’s ear­lier speeches, they can­not but feel an ex­is­ten­tial threat.”

He added: “Jews have been in Bri­tain since 1656, I know of no other oc­ca­sion in these 362 years when Jews — the ma­jor­ity of our com­mu­nity — are ask­ing ‘is this coun­try safe to bring up our chil­dren?’”

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

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