Former archbishop compares antisemitism on campuses to Nazi Germany

By Charlotte Oliver, March 27, 2016
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams

A former Archbishop of Canterbury has compared antisemitism on campuses to Nazi Germany.

Rowan Williams told the Sunday Times that there were “worrying echoes” of Nazi Germany occurring today at British universities.

He said there were still cases where “people ascribe both a sort of collective guilt to Jewish people and a sinister kind of backstairs power”.

He continued: “We do still head both of those myths today and we need to be as vigilant as possible.”

Lord Williams, who is now master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, has written to the universities minister Jo Johnson asking him to appoint a national ombudsman to control antisemitism on campus.

He wrote: “It is sadly now a commonplace that antisemitic behaviour is increasing.

“Many Jewish students habitually feel intimidated, with good reason.

“The situation is a serious one and there is a danger that the crudest and most debased and violent styles of language are allowed to become the default setting in some kinds of political debate.”

Lord Williams’ comments came after David Cameron told Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to “sort out” the problem of antisemitism in his party.

Mr Cameron acknowledged during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday that there had been a growth in support for antisemitism in parts of the Labour Party.

Last updated: 1:05pm, March 27 2016