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London Universities' Antisemitism Incidents Double According To Report

Jasmyne Jeffery January 21, 2023

A recent report has shown that London universities’ antisemitism complaints have doubled in the last two academic years. However, there are many more going unreported. More threats in London universities stemmed from University College London than any other institution in the area.

A report from the Community Support Trust has found that allegations of antisemitic incidents and threats have more than doubled since before 2021. The CST found there were 150 incidents across the 2020-21 and 2021-2022 academic years, with academic years; a fifth of those were reported in London.

Antisemitism In London Universities Has Risen

Compared to the two-year period before the report, incidents concerning London’s universities have more than doubled. Previously, 12 incidents of antisemitism were reported among the capital’s universities, in the last two academic years this has risen to 30.

The CST has released the numbers related to the universities concerned. It reveals that the number of cases before 2020-2021 happened in one university alone.

University College London had 12 incidents of antisemitism; the next highest being Queen Mary, London Southbank and Brunel University with 4. After that, Royal Holloway had 2, with Imperial College, City University, the University of the Arts and St George’s all having 1.

Dave Rich of CST spoke about the concerning numbers:

“We recorded more antisemitic incidents related to university campuses in London than anywhere else, and that is partly because of the number of universities and the number of students in London.”

Acknowledging the number of universities and students is important from a data standpoint. However, it does nothing to dismiss that the number of cases has still more than doubled.

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Universities Reassure On Their Antisemitism Policies

Both Royal Holloway and Queens Mary University have publicly spoken about the antisemitism incidents and the report.

After a case in 2021, Royal Holloway told the BBC in a statement:

“In May 2021, we witnessed unacceptable behaviour on our campus and online with regards to antisemitism and immediately reported it to the police who took swift action and arrests were made. [The university] abhors violence, discrimination, harassment, and antisemitism.”

However, a further two incidents have occurred since.

Queen Mary, who had four incidents according to the CST report, spoke about its policies to the BBC:

“[we have a]zero-tolerance approach to any form of racial bullying and harassment”.

A student at the university told the BBC about the antisemitism he suffers at Queens Mary:

“I’ve been walking on campus and simply because I’m wearing my kippah people will come up to me and just kind of disdainfully ask my beliefs or about my religion in kind of an accusatory tone.” Some of his friends have even been sent death threats.

What’s more concerning, is that the reported cases aren’t the whole picture.

“What we’re seeing is just a snapshot of what is reported, and probably the figures therefore only give you a feel of the tip of the iceberg of what’s actually happening,” Dave Rich told the BBC.

Brunel University and University College both said that antisemitism has no place at their institutions.

Not Enough Is Being Done To Tackle Antisemitism In Universities

Earlier in the month, a report found that the National Union of Students has failed to challenge antisemitic behaviour.

The independent report found that NUS policies on antisemitism had been breached and that Jewish students had faced harassment.

Though the report did not set out any sanctions, it did offer 11 recommendations to help resolve the findings. Most of which were educational and required training.

The director of the NUS said the report’s findings were “shocking” and would be implementing all of its recommendations.

Though the two reports released this year, it’s clear that more has to be done to protect students from antisemitism.

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Jasmyne Jeffery is a full-time writer on Freshered after working freelance with GRV Media previously. She attended the University of South Wales where she was also a student blogger. In 2022, she graduated with a first-class honours degree in English and Creative Writing. Jasmyne worked briefly for her local newspaper before heading to university and completing an internship at a publishing company. She is now pursuing and loving a career in journalism. Jasmyne has a particular interest in student news, entertainment, and social media, whilst also (trying!) to help put the world to right. Originally from North Devon, she is currently loving the small-city life in Cardiff.