Briefing: Islamophobia and Antisemitism

By Dr Aaron Winter (Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Lancaster University)

Since the Hamas attack on 7th October 2023 and Israel’s assault on Gaza in response, there have been reports about rising antisemitism across British society. These reports are concerning and demonstrate an urgent need to address antisemitism and its impacts.

However, there are public, political, and media voices that have stoked fears and used accusations of antisemitism to delegitimise and demonise legitimate democratic expressions of Palestinian solidarity and criticism of the Israeli government’s actions in Gaza. These accusations have thus facilitated a divide and rule between Muslim and Jewish communities, and fueled Islamophobic tropes and a rise in hatred against Muslims, Arabs, Palestinians and those supporting them, including Jewish supporters. Moreover, the manner in which accusations of antisemitism have become securitised within the prism of PREVENT and ‘extremism’ raise further cause for concern.

As such, I argue we need to challenge both the conflation of antisemitism and anti-zionism, and the divide and rule between communities, defend the democratic right to protest and the human rights of Palestinians, and make connections between all forms of racism, including antisemitism and Islamophobia.

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