Nigel Farage suggested Muslims were to blame for a disturbing increase in anti-Semitism in Britain. Speaking on LBC radio, the Ukip leader condemned anti-Jewish attacks and claimed a sharp increase was down to Muslims that oppose Israel’s right to exist.
Figures from the Mayor of London’s office this week revealed hate crime against Jews have rocketed by almost 100% over the past year.
Farage said: “I have detected quite a sharp rise in anti-Semitism in Britain and across the EU. What’s fueling it is there are many more Muslim voices and some of them are deeply critical of Israel and some of them question Israel’s right to exist. We’ve got this counter voice which is deeply critical. This is one of the challenges we face; when you’ve got more groups [to deal with].”
Political correctness may also play in a role in fueling anti-Semitism, claimed the leader of Ukip – which now has MPs following by-election victories in recent months. Farage said public figures and politicians are reluctant to condemn anti-Jewish actions for fear of offending Muslim sensibilities.
“There’s a lot of people in politics who would be nervous about speaking up about anti-Semitism. I feel we’ve not being doing enough in defending the Jewish right to have a homeland because we are worried of offending another group” he said.
Campaigners have condemned Farage’s claim. One group, Hope Not Hate, called his comments “nonsense.” The group’s spokesman, Matthew Collins, said:
“Ukip is full of phobias. This is just more nonsense by Farage. Yes, there is anti-Semitism and it is not only perpetuated by the far-right. But who has been silenced by political correctness? Farage gets a dig in at Muslims but he should be aware he is fishing in the same swamp as the BNP.”