Campus hate figures soar
Antisemitic incidents in universities shot up by 88 per cent in the first half of this year, according to figures released this week by the Community Security Trust.
There were 49 incidents in the first six months of this year compared to 26 in the first half of 2007. However, only two involved assaults and both of those were off campus; the rest were incidents of verbal abuse or graffiti.
Both the Union of Jewish Students and the CST attributed the increase in part to the success of a campaign, launched at the start of the academic year, to improve reporting of all incidents involving students.
UJS campaigns director Yair Zivan said: "We're making really good progress with the government and the entire higher education sector in our strategy to confront the problem.
"UJS and Jewish students had a fantastic year with key political victories across the country and we are confident that these will play a vital role in firmly tackling antisemitic incidents over the next year.
"At the National Union of Students' conference this year we set the precedent of how we expect antisemitism to be dealt with when an organisation handing out antisemitic material was removed and banned. The stance taken by the NUS should be an example to the rest of the higher education sector."
New UJS president Adam Pike added: "The most effective way of dealing with antisemitism is for Jewish students to be empowered. Through strong and united local Jewish societies and a strong national union, we can continue the good work already taking place in dealing with antisemitism."
John Mann MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism, said: "Every antisemitic attack is a blight on society - the 2008 Interim Report figures show that reporting is better.
"The work that CST and UJS have done together is excellent. By knowing the scale of the problem we can deploy strategies to combat antisemitism on our streets and our campuses."
The CST recorded 266 incidents across the UK between January and June 2008 - a nine per cent rise over the same period last year, when there were 244. This year's total breaks down as follows:
42 violent assaults - a fall of 24 per cent over the same period in 2007
31 incidents of damage and desecration - up by one
16 antisemitic threats recorded -the same as last year
11 cases of mass-produced antisemitic literature - compared with six last year
166 incidents of abusive behaviour - 21 per cent up on last year (includes verbal abuse, hate mail and graffiti on non-Jewish property)