Baroness Deech: Universities fail to tackle antisemitism for fear of offending Gulf benefactors

Former Master of St Anne’s College said extreme levels of hostility towards Israel evident at some UK universities can at times 'equate to antisemitism'


Leading universities are becoming no-go areas for Jews, a former Adjudicator for Higher Education has warned.

Baroness Ruth Deech, the first Adjudicator dealing with student complaints nationally, said universities were failing to combat rising antisemitism because they were “afraid of offending” potential benefactors from Gulf states. 

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Baroness Deech, a former Master of St Anne’s College, Oxford, said that “amongst Jewish students, there is gradually a feeling that there are certain universities that you should avoid.

Definitely SOAS, Manchester I think is now not so popular because of  things that have happened there, Southampton, Exeter and so on.”

Her  comments follow a series of high profile incidents at campuses across the country. In November, a talk at University College London by the Israeli speaker Hen Mazzig was stormed by pro-Palestinian students.

Last year, Southampton University was forced to cancel a conference on Israel’s right to exist in the face of criticism from opponents who described it as “giving legitimacy to antisemitism”.

The Charity Commission is investigating an alleged antisemitic talk at SOAS last month where the creation of Israel was described as a “racist” and “fascist” endeavour, and the “cult” of Zionism was linked to the Nazis.

Earlier this year, students at Exeter University were photographed wearing T-shirts displaying racist and antisemitic slogans at a sports club social event.

Malia Bouattia, the president of the National Union of Students,  was widely criticised for describing  Birmingham University as “something of a Zionist outpost” in an article she co-authored five years ago.

Challenged over the remarks on the Radio 4 Today programme, she refused to apologise for them.

Earlier this month, Theresa May announced the government was adopting a new definition of antisemitism. From now on, it will be regarded as a“certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”


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