On 17th December, Francophone Belgian website 7sur7 reported that Toblerone chocolate received its halal certification in April 2018. The article’s sensationalist title – “What you probably did not know about Toblerone” – implies that the owner of the brand, the US food group Mondelez, is involved in a secret conspiracy to please Muslim buyers to the detriment of others. Although Toblerone’s recipe had not actually changed, the article maintains this accusatory tone by using words that imply conspiracy, like “in all discretion” and “did not want to reveal”.
This report, authored by David Feldman and Ben Gidley, explores whether there is a connection between antisemitism and immigration in the UK. The study was launched because of a rising assumption of this connection: "There is a persistent claim that new migrants to Europe, and specifically migrants from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA migrants), carry antisemitism with them. This assertion is made to different degrees in different countries and can take different forms. Nevertheless, in Europe, the association of rising antisemitism with migrants from the MENA is widespread and needs to be evaluated."
Drawing on a review of existing quantitative and qualitative data and new qualitative research, the researchers explore whether antisemitism in the UK has risen due to an increase in immigration, specifically from the MENA region. Their conclusion, summed up: "We draw the conclusion that the rise in recorded antisemitic incidents and crimes in the UK should not be linked to the arrival of MENA migrants."
The report highlights that there has been a rise in antisemitism in the UK over the last few years. On this topic, they discuss the role of the media in depth. "Politicians and news media can have an impact on both the incidence of antisemitism and also on whether people perceive and/or report antisemitism". When discussing recommendations, based on their research, Feldman and Gidley write: "Politicians, policy makers and journalists should promote a balanced, evidence based discussion of the relationship between immigration and antisemitism."
If you want to read the "Antisemitism and Immigration in Western Europe Today: Is there a connection?" report, you can click here, or you can scroll down to the bottom of this page and download the handbook as a pdf file.