The Education Secretary has praised 80 universities which have committed to tackling antisemitism.
Speaking at the Universities UK Annual Conference yesterday, Gavin Williamson said the number of universities that had adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism had risen to 80 from 30 one year ago.
He urged those that had not done so to act quickly, especially following the sharp rise in antisemitic abuse on campus that occurred during the 11-day Israel and Gaza conflict.
Mr Williamson said: “The dreadful spike in antisemitic incidents on campus earlier this year demonstrates just how important this is and it goes without saying that there is simply no excuse for antisemitism or any other forms of racism anywhere but least of all in a university.”
Mr Williamson said antisemitic abuse was one of a range of issues universities should do more to prevent and would receive “command strong support from all walks of life”.
But he warned “some universities seem more interested in pursuing a divisive agenda”.
“Vice-chancellors who allow these initiatives to take place in their name must understand that they do nothing but undermine public confidence, widen divisions and damage the sector.
“I call on you to help bring our nation together, instead of driving our nation apart…. Let us come together to tackle injustice and promote equality for the students and staff”.
The government wrote to all the 150 higher education institutions last year urging them to adopt IHRA in full by December, 2020, or risk possible cuts in funding.
Many of the leading Russell Group universities have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, including Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Durham.
However, critics warn some academics or student groups are now trying to reverse the decision while others have championed the watered-down Jerusalem Declaration.
Some academics have also rallied behind controversial Bristol University professor David Miller who labelled campus JSoc members “pawns” of a “racist foreign regime” and called for the “end” of Zionism.
It emerged last month that Professor Miller was due to teach two modules despite the furore surrounding this views.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has written to Bristol asking it to detail how it intends to address the concerns of Jewish students there.
The Community Security Trust published a report in December, 2020, which logged 123 on campus incidents in two years.