The United Kingdom’s education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, hosted a summit last week where vice chancellors from universities across the country, university representatives and Jewish groups gathered to discuss better ways of tackling anti-Semitism in higher education.

“Education is the vaccine against anti-Semitism,” said Zahawi. “No Jewish students or staff members should be subjected to anti-Semitic abuse, and by working together, we will send out a clear message that anti-Semitism, like other forms of racism, will never be tolerated in our classrooms or campuses.”

The Jan. 26 summit reviewed incidents of anti-Semitism on campus and examined measures that can be taken to make sure Jewish students and staff feel safe at their schools, such as working with the Community Security Trust to improve reporting of cases from universities.

As part of the summit, the Union of Jewish Students ran a training workshop for attendees about how to better identify anti-Semitism and support Jewish students who have faced it. CST also discussed their data collection to educate attendees about patterns of anti-Semitic attacks.

A total of 111 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded at universities across the United Kingdom in the 2020-21 academic year—a rise of 59 percent from the previous school year, according to figures published last November by the London-based Times.

“I am horrified by the very thought of even one incident of anti-Semitism on campus; it has no place within any of our world-leading universities,” said Michelle Donelan, U.K. Minister of State for Higher and Further Education, ahead of the summit. “I will work hand-in-hand with the sector to take forward commitments agreed to today and ensure providers have the right tools to tackle this issue.”

Donelan concluded by urging universities that have not yet adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism “to follow in the footsteps of many others and do so now,” explaining that “without a universal recognition of anti-Semitism, we cannot hope for its abolition.”

According to figures published in November, more than 200 universities, colleges and other higher education providers have adopted the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism.


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