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Last Updated: Friday, 23 January, 2004, 12:53 GMT
One fifth 'don't want Jewish PM'
People imprisoned in a Nazi camp
One in seven believed the Holocaust was exaggerated
Nearly one in five Britons would not want a Jewish prime minister, a poll has found.

The ICM survey for the Jewish Chronicle also suggested one in seven Britons believed Jewish suffering in the Holocaust had been exaggerated.

The poll comes as the Conservative Party gears up for the next election under a Jewish leader, Michael Howard.

Home Secretary David Blunkett told the newspaper the findings were "worrying and disappointing".

Nearly one in five also believed Jews had too much influence in Britain but Mr Blunkett said people were deluding themselves.

But although 15% thought the Holocaust had been exaggerated, 72% of those polled disagreed with the notion, and 62% strongly.

Next Tuesday is Holocaust Memorial Day, which will be marked with events all over the UK.

Young tend to underplay Holocaust

Those most likely to underplay the Holocaust were under the age of 24 or over the age of 65.

Only 53% of those questioned would be as happy with a Jewish prime minister as one of any other faith, with 18% saying they would find it less acceptable.

Of those surveyed, 18% also believed Jews had too much influence in the UK, with 47% disagreeing.

The survey did find that those who had pro-Jewish views were much more likely to hold them strongly than those who held anti-Jewish views.

Mr Blunkett told the newspaper: "It means people are prepared to set aside not only the evidence, but the overwhelming emotion that goes with it.

"They delude themselves into believing that the Nazis are not what we know them to be, and this is very depressing."

It would surprise me if one in seven Britons thought the earth was flat. The Holocaust is an established fact
Jeff Barak
Jewish Chronicle
Jewish Chronicle deputy editor Jeff Barak said many of the results of the poll were very suprising, particularly about the belief the Holocaust was exaggerated.

He told BBC News Online: "It would surprise me if one in seven Britons thought the earth was flat. The Holocaust is an established fact."

Mr Barak said it was incomprehensible that these views could be held by pensioners who had lived through World War II or young people who had learnt about the Nazis' persecution of the Jews in the National Curriculum.

He said some older Jews believed the results were better than might have been expected, while younger members of the community were baffled that such intolerance continued at all.

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