University vice-chancellors are asked to protect Jewish students

There has been an increase in antisemitism on campus since the terrorist attacks in Israel


The Union of Jewish Students and the University Jewish Chaplaincy have written to every vice chancellor in the UK to demand Jewish students are properly protected following an increase in campus antisemitism in the wake of last week’s terrorist atrocities.

A recent assessment carried out by the CST found that in just four days, between October 7 and October 10, they saw 89 antisemitic incidents reported to them, an increase of 324 per cent compared to the same period last year. 

The strongly worded letter claims the ongoing war with Hamas has left the Jewish community “in mourning and feeling vulnerable", adding: “In times like these, it becomes even more vital to support and protect Jewish students who may be experiencing heightened anxiety and fear, mourning the loss of relatives and friends, and experiencing deep distress about the threat to both citizens of Israel and sadly the UK".

At Birmingham University on Sunday, two Jewish students reported that as a car drove past them, someone yelled: “You Jewish bastards”.

Close to Nottingham University, pro-Palestinian graffiti was found and Palestinian activist posters were spread around accommodation where many Jewish students are living.

The letter, which was signed by representatives from UJS and University Jewish Chaplaincy requests university leaders’ assistance “in ensuring the safety, wellbeing, and inclusivity of Jewish students at your institution.” 

It states: “Your institution needs to stand by its Jewish students by unequivocally condemning the glorification and celebration of terrorism and antisemitism which is being seen on campuses across the UK.” 

The letter included five key points: A zero-tolerance approach for support of proscribed organisations, including Hamas, under the Terrorism Act 2000. Signs or displays of support for proscribed organisations cannot be allowed. Vice chancellors are requested to improve and reinforce safety measures on campus and ensure that appropriate help is made available for Jewish students who may be struggling with their mental health due to events in Israel. The letter states that it is the responsibility of university staff to create safe spaces for students and "leave their personal politics at the door [...] These students should not be made to answer for or defend Israel in class or anywhere else."

The letter emphasises inclusivity and respect, saying that senior management should be reaching out to Jewish societies and Jewish staff directly rather than other way around.  

This story has been amended to remove a reference to a vigil at the University of Leeds that incorrectly stated the event had been disrupted by pro-Palestinian protestors

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