New group to tackle antisemitism in UK universities

A new organization will research and analyze the experiences of Jewish students, academics and staff at universities throughout the United Kingdom.

London. Credit: Pixabay.
London. Credit: Pixabay.

The Intra-Communal Professorial Group (The ICPG)—an organization established to research, record and analyze the experiences of Jewish students, academics and other staff on university campuses throughout the United Kingdom amid the recorded increase in antisemitism since Oct. 7—launched on May 1. It will also make recommendations to universities and stakeholders on how to improve the experience of Jewish students and staff.

The organization is chaired by Anthony Julius, a professor on the faculty of laws at University College London, along with professor Daniel Hochhauser, deputy chair; and the Kathleen Ferrier Chair of medical oncology at the University College London.

Director Odeliya Lanir Zafir will lead the organization, which currently comprises more than 25 academics from numerous British universities, including the University of Cambridge; the University of Oxford; the London School of Economics; King’s College London; SOAS University of London; the University of Kent; the University of Hull; and the University of Reading.

The group is set to expand upon the existing reporting, research and publication efforts of Jewish community organizations, aiming to combat the spread and normalization of antisemitic hostility in academia and on campuses. Research is starting and will scale up with the new academic year in September, with initial findings and recommendations expected by the end of 2024.

“We have formed the ICPG in response to the increasing levels of hostility and fear to which Jewish students and staff have been subjected in recent months at universities across the U.K.,” said Julius. “We are dedicated to researching and understanding the presence and impact of antisemitism on university campuses. Our goal is to devise actionable, effective strategies to enable a safe and secure environment for all students and staff. We will work with university leaders to enforce a zero-tolerance policy against antisemitism on campus.”

The ICPG has formed several working groups that are focused on research and data collection; creating standards and recommendations; advising on free-speech issues; and documenting challenges faced by Jewish students and academics.

The ICPG is grateful to have the backing of the Jewish community and its leaders.

Dave Rich, director of policy at the Community Security Trust, said we have seen a dramatic and concerning increase in reported incidents of antisemitism at UK universities since Oct. 7. CST is working hard to keep our whole community safe during this extremely difficult time. We see the ICPG as an important and welcome initiative for understanding and tackling university-related antisemitism to help ensure that this hatred is no longer tolerated. We look forward to working with the ICPG team to make sure that our universities are safe places for Jewish students and staff.”

Arieh Miller, chief executive of the Union of Jewish Students, said “since Oct. 7, we have seen the biggest antisemitism crisis on campus in a generation. It has not only impacted Jewish students but Jewish faculty, and administrators, too. We look forward to partnering with the ICPG to ensure the experience of all Jewish people on campus is continually recorded and presented to university senior management to ensure all Jewish voices on campus are heard.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews welcomes the ICPG organization. The Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) has commended the initiative.

The ICPG is looking to hear from university academics and staff who would like to get involved with its work. Contact Odeliya Lanir Zafir, director of ICPG, at Odeliya.lz@icpg.org.uk for more information.

Notes to Editor:

*Latest Research & Statistics from the CST (as referenced in the first paragraph of this press release)

In February 2024, CST reported that it had recorded 182 antisemitic incidents in 2023 in which the victims or offenders were students or academics, or which involved student unions, societies or other representative bodies. This was an increase of 203% from the 60 such incidents recorded in 2022. Seventy-two of these 182 university-related incidents took place on campus or university property, and 110 away from campus, of which 77 were online. Of these incidents, 81% occurred on or after Oct. 7.

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The Intra-Communal Professorial Group, The ICPG, has been set up to research, record and analyze the experiences of Jewish students, academics and other staff on British university campuses amidst the recorded increase in antisemitism since Oct. 7. The ICPG will also make recommendations to UK universities and stakeholders about how to improve the experience of Jewish students and staff. The organization is chaired by professor Anthony Julius, Faculty of Laws, University College London together with deputy chair, professor Daniel Hochhauser, Kathleen Ferrier Chair of Medical Oncology, University College London. The growing organization will be led by director Odeliya Lanir Zafir and currently comprises over 25 academics from numerous British universities.
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