Scores of antisemitic incidents on UK campuses, says charity

Community Security Trust finds 123 incidents affecting Jewish students, academics and student bodies over past two years

December 17, 2020

An investigation by a charity that monitors antisemitism found 123 such incidents affecting Jewish students, academics and student bodies in UK universities over the past two years.

The Community Security Trust says its report, Campus Antisemitism in Britain 2018-2020, includes cases of antisemitic incidents perpetrated by students, academic staff, students’ union officials and student society officers.

Recommendations from the report include urging universities to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism to “ensure that there is a common, accepted and practical standard with which to measure antisemitism and assess complaints”.

And it also says that universities “should allow third party organisations such as CST or the Union of Jewish Students to submit complaints regarding antisemitism on behalf of students. This is common practice in reporting hate crime to police or other bodies.”

Gavin Williamson, the education secretary in the Westminster government, wrote to universities earlier this year urging them to adopt the IHRA definition.

The Office for Students, the English regulator, could be asked to take regulatory action including suspending “funding streams” if universities failed to do so, he said.

“If I have not seen the overwhelming majority of institutions adopting the definition by Christmas then I will act,” Mr Williamson said.

The CST says that “the response of some universities to complaints of antisemitism was found by CST to be inconsistent and, in the worst cases, increased the harm felt by Jewish students”.

The organisation says there has been a “significant increase in university incident totals since 2018 [which] reflects a sustained drive by CST’s campus team to encourage students to report antisemitic incidents”.

Thirty-nine university antisemitic incidents recorded by CST during the last two academic years took place on campus, 33 took place off campus and 51 were online. CST says it “recorded four instances of assault across the two academic years in the study; seven in the category of damage and desecration to Jewish property; five in the category of threats; and 107 incidents of abusive behaviour”.

Mark Gardner, CST chief executive, said: “University should be an excellent experience for young people, but CST’s detailed study shows that antisemitism is a real problem for some Jewish students, mostly involving racism and ignorance from other young people, either verbally or via social media.

“The most serious cases occur where universities deny their students adequate protection, either from visiting hate speakers, or from their own politically-biased academics pushing conspiracy theories, including about British Jews, antisemitism and the Labour Party.”

James Harris, president of the Union of Jewish Students, said: “While many institutions have equality and anti-racism frameworks, these have proven to be completely inadequate when protecting Jewish students. When antisemitism does arise, Jewish students rightly expect that it will be taken seriously and dealt with effectively. I look forward to the day where this is the case at every single university.”

A Universities UK spokeswoman said: “Universities must do all they can to tackle antisemitism. We have asked all our members to consider adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism, while recognising their duty to promote freedom of speech within the law.

“We are aware that an increasing number of universities are adopting the IHRA definition and many are considering what more they can do to ensure a zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism.

“We recently published new recommendations designed to tackle racial harassment in higher education, including antisemitism. This work builds on UUK’s “Changing the Culture” framework and a number of Jewish organisations were involved in the development of this framework.

“We are in regular contact with Jewish community leaders and student groups to ensure that universities are supported to do all they can to tackle antisemitism.”

john.morgan@timeshighereducation.com

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Reader's comments (5)

So Kenneth Stern is incorrect about the IHRA definition then?
The IHRA definition of anti-semitism is flawed in that it conflates discrimination or adverse comments based on people being Jewish (which is, of course, wrong) with adverse comments about the policies or actions of Israel (which is legitimate political opinion... and often made by people who happen to be Jewish as well as by gentiles). Until that's sorted, the definition is not worth adopting. If indeed, anything specifically about anti-semitism is needed if robust policies banning discrimination based on ethnicity or religious belief are in place already.
Did you read the definition? It clearly says "However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic". Then what's the problem?
Having watched some very anti-Semitic protests on campus, the worst against a visiting Israeli Academic, organised by a religious group with an axe to grind who even brought fully covered women and their children from London to act as their front line 'human shields'. It was interesting to note it was the apparently 'hard-right' EDL who turned up to protect the Israeli Academic. Such is the circularity of politics. It was most amusing to see some of the EDL wearing yarmulke's, yet unsurprising, the 'hard-left' who appear to be the biggest supporters of those who are anti-Semitic have forgotten their Jewish political roots come from Jewish blood, both Marx and Lenin. Jew's on campus will not, dare not, openly wear anything that discloses their religious beliefs these days such is the fear of violence, the goyim have invited into the West those who would destroy both them and more especially the Jews, what has been happening on campus should be seen as a potential warning of things to come in wider society, something to consider as we go the celebrate the birth of a Jewish boy some 2000 years ago. Whilst the left
plot and support further outrage against us all.

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