SCoJeC has launched a new survey to explore the experience of Being Jewish in Scotland. This is a follow up to two Scottish Government funded inquiries carried out by SCoJeC in 2011-12 and 2014-15. These inquiries, and the events and activities associated with them, both inform the representations that we make on behalf of the Jewish Community and help to build engagement and connection within the Community – helping us represent, connect, and support Jewish people in Scotland.
In 2011, after we had mentioned some anecdotal examples of ‘everyday antisemitism’ to the Scottish Government, they funded SCoJeC to conduct a small scale study to explore how typical these were of the experience of Jewish people throughout Scotland. We found a community that was in general comfortable living in Scotland, but with some – too many – examples of antisemitic discrimination and abuse reported by respondents.
Our final report on that study, Being Jewish in Scotland: Every Jew has a story to tell, and every story is different was published in 2013, and helped SCoJeC build a better understanding of what affects the sense of security of Jewish individuals and communities.
Our follow-up survey, What's changed about Being Jewish in Scotland, was prompted by reports of widespread and significant deterioration of attitudes affecting the lives of Jewish people in Scotland following events in the Middle East in summer 2014. This was confirmed by our findings – indeed a number of our respondents told us that they had discussed leaving the country, and that they had stopped displaying visible indicators of their Jewish identity.
Five years later, SCoJeC is now carrying out a follow-up study in the context of an increasingly polarised society where antisemitism has become a familiar topic of discussion both in the media and in the political arena. There is increasing populism and tribalism, and some politicians seek to justify remarks that others – and most members of the Jewish community – regard as antisemitic, leading to unprecedented numbers of complaints, resignations, and expulsions during the recent general election campaign.
Jewish people are understandably unsettled, and it has even been reported that “as many as half would seriously consider leaving the country” (see reports in the Telegraph and National Review). We therefore believe it is timely to revisit our 2012 and 2015 findings, to identify patterns and trends, and in particular to find out whether and how Scotland may be different from the rest of the UK.
For this new pilot study, SCoJeC has been awarded funding through the Q-Step Programme run by the University of Glasgow, to enable two final year Social Science students to work with Fiona Frank, our Projects and Outreach Manager, who conducted the original research. As well as analysing survey responses, Jordyn, Andrew, and Fiona will be conducting focus groups around Scotland to hear from as many people as we can.
So if you are Jewish and have lived in Scotland within the past ten years, please contribute by completing our survey, which can be found through links on the SCoJeC website or direct by clicking here.