Jewish students have suffered ‘a year’s worth of antisemitic incidents’ on UK campuses since Hamas attack

Anti-Jewish attacks have come from students, students' union officers and academics


Jewish students have experienced “a year’s worth of antisemitic incidents” on campus since the start of the war in Israel, students leaders said this week.

A student welfare helpline which the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) set up the day after the terrorist attacks on October 7 has received over 150 calls regarding antisemitic incidents on campus, according to UJS.

This campus data has coincided with reports from the Community Safety Trust (CST), who have confirmed that antisemitic incidents in the UK have risen by a staggering 581% since the terrorist attacks.

Latest figures from the Metropolitan Police said that between October 1 and October 18, it had seen a 1,353 per cent increase in antisemitic offences in the capital.

A spokesperson from UJS told the JC: “Since Hamas’ murderous incursion into Israel, Jewish students have experienced an unprecedented rise in antisemitism on campuses across the UK and Ireland.

“We have received reports of verbal abuse, intimidation of students, posters calling for ‘intifada until victory’, targeting of Jewish students’ accommodation, and even death threats.”

He added that they had also heard of academics and students’ union officers “celebrating, condoning and supporting the terrorist actions of Hamas as a form of ‘liberation’ or ‘resistance’”.

Jewish students have also been targeted on social media. Jewish Society (JSoc) WhatsApp groups have been infiltrated and subsequently bombarded with messages like "f****** dirty Jewish c****" and "murdering b*******". one Jewish student at Nottingham University received a comment saying: “Hitler should have wiped you all out” on Instagram.

In Birmingham, two pro-Palestinian marches were held on campus, causing some students to refuse to attend lectures for fears of their own safety.

Prominent Jewish activist Dov Forman tweeted that he had overheard an antisemitic attack during a lecture at UCL in London, where a group of activists were found shouting “intifada until victory”, at the campus entrance.

Speaking to Nick Ferrari on LBC, Dov said: “There was a a group of ten or 20 people [...] waving Palestinian flags and screaming that they want an intifada until victory against the Jews." He added that "almost all of us have been frightened" to wear Magen Davids or kippot.

UJS campaigns officer Emily Sinclair told the JC that “very few students have been happy with how their universities have responded. There is a difference between sending out a statement and actively ensuring the safety and wellbeing of students…Simply put, Jewish students are scared.”

To combat this sharp rise in antisemitism and to support the 9,000 Jewish students, as well as setting up a welfare line, UJS has written to every - over 130 – university vice-chancellors and launched a campaign to get students' unions to stand against terror and Hamas.

They have also run online briefing sessions for students, community leaders, school pupils and parents on how to keep safe at university.

UJS maintains that campus “is still safe for Jewish students, but we urge everyone to be vigilant, and to report any incidents that happen".

Its president Edward Isaacs has vowed to ensure that the union will continue to “lead, defend and enrich Jewish life on campus”.

The news of the increase in antisemitism comes after education secretary Gillian Keegan and Education Minister Robert Halfon wrote to all vice-chancellors, calling for them to take action to protect Jewish students.

The letter states: "Following the barbaric terrorist attacks upon Israel [...] we are writing to express our deep concern for the welfare of Jewish students and to ask that you act swiftly and decisively against any threats, be they implicit or explicit, to their safety and welfare."

Universities UK, the umbrella body for the majority of higher education institutions, when asked by the what they were doing to protect Jewish students, told the JC: "Campus  communities across the UK will be deeply affected by the terrorist attacks by Hamas and Israel’s military response, and the tragic loss of civilian life.

“We believe that our priority as Universities UK, and the priority of our member universities, is to ensure that our campuses remain safe for all our students and staff."

The spokesperson added Universities UK had "been clear that Hamas is a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK and signalling support, including moral support or expressing an opinion or belief that is supportive, is a criminal offence, as outlined in the Terrorism Act (2000)."

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