The University of Exeter has ruled that an event by Exeter Friends of Palestine Society must not proceed over fears of “antisemitism or other forms of unlawful discrimination or harassment”. It is the latest university to ban an event for ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ on grounds of antisemitism.

Exeter Friends of Palestine was informed by the university that for the first time in its history it would be issuing a mandatory ban on the event, which consisted of a piece of ‘street theatre’. Whilst the Students’ Guild authorised the event, the university overruled it on “safety and security” grounds, including the risk of “compulsion” which could be interpreted as a loose term for intimidation. When Exeter Friends of Palestine Society appealed the decision, the university’s Provost, Professor Janice Kay wrote to them: “I have been asked to hear your appeal and do not find grounds to accept it.”

The move follows the adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism by the government following a sustained campaign by Campaign Against Antisemitism, Sir Eric Pickles and others. Minister of State for Universities, Jo Johnson MP, wrote to Universities UK earlier this month asking that all universities be conscious of the definition as ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ approached. Earlier this week the University of Central Lancashire became the first to ban an ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ event, setting an important precedent.

The decision came as Campaign Against Antisemitism released urgent guidance to students dealing with antisemitic incidents during ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’. Students with questions are very welcome to contact our specialist team by e-mailing [email protected].

This news is particularly welcome relief after a spate of antisemitic incidents at the University of Exeter. Last week the university tried to brush off an antisemitic incident in which a “Rights for Whites” sign was found in halls of residence and a swastika was found carved into a door in on-campus halls Birks Grange, with a spokesman downplaying this blatant antisemitic incident as possibly merely “an ill-judged, deeply offensive joke.” This follows another alarming antisemitic incident at the university last term in which students were photographed at a sports club social event wearing t-shirts with handwritten antisemitic slogans. One t-shirt bore the slogan: “the Holocaust was a good time.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism also exposed the antisemitism of Exeter Students’ Guild’s Vice President and trustee, Malaka Shwaikh, who had tweeted that she was “proud to be called terrorist” as well as various tweets comparing Zionism to Nazism, including: “Zionism ideology is no different than that of Hitler’s”. When her support for terrorism and her antisemitism were exposed, Shwaikh deleted her tweets and berated those “attacking” her as simply venting their “Islamophobic” prejudice. We are making a disciplinary complaint to the university, along with a complaint to the Charity Commission.

Every year at universities, ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ sees a flurry of antisemitic speakers and demonstrations on British campuses. Each year, we are contacted by Jewish students who are unsure of their rights, what they can do, and how we can help them.

This year looks like it will be different.

Following a great deal of work by Campaign Against Antisemitism, Sir Eric Pickles and others, the British government became the first in the world to formally adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism.

The Minister of State for Universities has reminded all universities of the definition and their obligation to protect their Jewish students, already resulting in the University of Central Lancashire declaring that an Israeli Apartheid Week event would not be lawful.

We are now expecting further announcements from other universities, but some universities, for example SOAS, are stubbornly refusing to enforce the International Definition of Antisemitism, and are allowing antisemitism on their campuses under the guise of ‘academic freedom’.

Universities and students’ unions are governed by complex rules and laws, including the government’s Prevent counter-extremism strategy, the public sector equality duty, charity law and numerous other requirements. It can be complicated to enforce the law, but we are here to help. Today we are releasing a simple guide for students to their rights, and ways that they can help. The guide is being sent to Jewish Societies directly and can be downloaded by anybody from our website.

The tide is turning. Antisemitism on university campuses is at long last being exposed and rejected.

Friends of Palestine societies from Kings College London, the University of Manchester and the University of Sussex are rolling out the red carpet to for a roadshow event organised as part of ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’. The lectures, billed as “Palestine: 100 Years of Settler-Colonialism. 100 Years of Popular Struggle for Justice”, will be held in London on 28th February, Manchester on 1st March and Sussex on 2nd March.

Campaign Against Antisemitism calls on the universities to cancel these events following the precedent set by the University of Central Lancashire, which cancelled an ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ event for contravening the International Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the British Government.

The event description invites students to “Join campaigners in the Movement for Black Lives in the United States, South Africa and the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for a discussion on the Palestinian struggle for justice. The Palesitnian [sic] people have been struggling against settler-colonialism for 100 years. How can we support their struggle for liberation and build powerful movements against racism and oppression?” This makes it very clear that the event is not only opposed to particular Israeli policies such as the construction of settlements, but to the existence of the state of Israel, which will celebrate its 69th birthday this year, within any borders. Under the International Definition of Antisemitism, it is antisemitic to seek the destruction of Israel or claim that its creation was a racist endeavour.

The speakers at all three events are deeply concerning. Aja Monet, described as a “poet and activist with Dream Defenders, part of the broader Movement for Black Lives” tweeted on 23rd August 2011: “@mikeschreiber lol…lies. you jews and your lies.” The tweet she appears to have been responding to has been deleted or hidden.

Another speaker, Farid Esack, described as a “South African activist and Muslim liberation theologian” was recently condemned by the Israeli Embassy in Germany following his controversial appointment to a German University. An Embassy spokesman said of Esack: “This is a man who expressed antisemitic statements, and who is sympathetic to Holocaust denial. A person with such views has no place as an educator in a university, in particular not in Germany; due to both professional as well as moral and probably also legal reasons.” He was also barred from speaking at an ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ event at the Pantheon-Sorbonne University in France in 2015 after complaints were received by the institution. In 2015, he hosted a fundraising dinner for his “comrade” Leila Khaled, the convicted Palestinian terrorist, plane hijacker and member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine politburo.

We are contacting all three universities following requests from a number of students.

A precedent has been set. The University of Central Lancashire has cancelled an event which was scheduled for the nationwide “Israel Apartheid Week”. The cancelled session titled “Debunking Misconceptions on Palestine” was organised by the university’s Friends of Palestine Society and was promoted as a panel discussion promoting a boycott of Israel. In the past, “Israel Apartheid Week” has seen a range of antisemitic abuse, demonstrations and speaker events.

In a powerful statement on behalf of the university, a spokesperson said that the event contravened the International Definition of Antisemitism which has been adopted by the British Government. He said: “We believe the proposed talk contravenes the new definition and furthermore breaches university protocols for such events, where we require assurances of a balanced view or a panel of speakers representing all interests. In this instance our procedures determined that the proposed event would not be lawful and therefore it will not proceed as planned.”

The decision appears to follow a letter sent by Jo Johnson MP, Minister of State for Universities, to Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK. In the letter he asks her to “disseminate this [definition] in your institution so that this position is widely known and clearly understood.” He ended: “This Government will diligently pursue our commitment to tackle intolerance and bigotry in every form”.

Campaign Against Antisemitism is very encouraged by this positive development and we commend the University of Central Lancashire for its principled response, as well as the many members of the public and activist groups who wrote to the university about this event.

Significantly, universities often allow unsavoury events within their premises on the basis that they are organised by students’ unions, which are not under the control of the university. Such a stance is at odds with the law which places obligations on universities to control the use of their premises in accordance with the government’s counter-extremism strategy. It is absolutely right that universities should now use the definition of antisemitism adopted by the British government and the College of Policing, and enforce it on any organisation or body seeking to use their premises.

In particular, this decision makes the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) look foolish following our revelation last week that its Director refuses to even consider adopting the International Definition of Antisemitism. We will not be dropping the matter.

We are extremely keen to hear from students who are experiencing antisemitism on campus, or who are aware of upcoming events of concern via e-mail at [email protected].

Dr Rebecca Gould, a lecturer at the University of Bristol, has been caught red-handed having written a sickening article about antisemitism. We first reported on 12th February that an anonymous student at Bristol had written to their student newspaper, The Epigram, alleging that a lecturer had penned a disturbing article about antisemitism and the Holocaust, but the student chose to keep the identity of the lecturer and the article itself confidential, even when we approached them through The Epigram.

Following an appeal for information, we are in a position to reveal the lecturer and the article.

Dr Rebecca Gould’s article titled “Beyond Antisemitism” was published in the radical left wing Counter Punch magazine edition of November 2011. Dr Gould wrote: “Defining the Shoah vis-a-vis the Greek (and, incidentally, Christian) term for a sacrifice to G-d has helped make it available to manipulation by governmental elites, aiming to promote the narrative most likely to underwrite their claims to sovereignty. Claiming the Holocaust as a holy event sanctifies the state of Israel and whitewashes its crimes.” She added: “perhaps the time has come to stop privileging the Holocaust as the central event in Jewish history.” She concluded the article: “As the situation stands today, the Holocaust persists and its primary victims are the Palestinian people.”

According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is antisemitic. Additionally, according to the expert legal opinion commissioned by Campaign Against Antisemitism, contending that either Jews, Israel or the West have “manipulated” the Holocaust to generate sympathy for Jews or for Israel or prevent criticism of them is an allegation “chosen to be emotive and upsetting to Jewish people and to generate hostility towards them.”

The article appeared on various websites but it has been deleted everywhere, except for one website which offered a PDF download.

According to the University of Bristol School of Modern Languages website, the lecturer has a PhD from Columbia University and is a Reader in Translation Studies & Comparative Literature. She taught previously at New York University, Columbia University, and Yale-NUS College in Singapore and specialises in the literatures of the Persian and Islamic world (especially the Caucasus). She is “happy to supervise in the areas of Middle Eastern and Central Asian literatures and cultures, translation studies, Islamic studies, comparative literature, critical theory, and modern Iran”.

We wrote to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Bristol to register our formal complaint, demanding that Dr Gould be suspended until she clarifies whether she stands by the article she wrote in 2011. If she does not, she should be required by the university to publicly retract he article, perhaps by writing an article for The Epigram explaining why the views are wrong, and why she has come to renounce them. However, if Dr Gould still holds such views she should be dismissed, and her dismissal should be made public so as to clearly signal the University of Bristol’s values.

The university has since told The Telegraph’s Education Editor, Camilla Turner: “Academic freedom, and freedom of speech, are at the heart of our mission at the University of Bristol. Since receiving a letter from the Campaign Against Antisemitism yesterday we are actively looking into this matter. As it relates to an individual member of staff we are not able to comment further.” Dr Gould told Camilla Turner that she did not retract her views and that her article was a “rallying call to action”.

Dr Gould’s article reveals an obsessive delusion that the Holocaust is being claimed as a “holy event”, that it is improper for Jews to pay it much attention and that now Jews are perpetrating a Holocaust. If Dr Gould stands by her sickening views then the University of Bristol must discipline her. But the University of Bristol’s statement meekly defending “academic freedom” whilst failing to mention the rights of Jewish students leaves us with scant confidence in the adequacy of their response.

After a spate of antisemitic incidents at the University of Exeter, students decided to organise a protest march. They did what came naturally to them and asked Malaka Shwaikh, exposed by Campaign Against Antisemitism as a terrorist-supporting antisemite, to address the crowd and make Jewish students feel safe. Whilst professing an admirable desire for solidarity, Shwaikh took the opportunity not to renounce any of her views and to instead berate those “attacking” her as simply venting their “Islamophobic” prejudice.

Over the past week, Campaign Against Antisemitism has received dozens of tweets and Facebook posts from Exeter students and alumni, including:

  • Shwaikh tweeted in 2015: “If terrorism means protecting and defending my land, I am so proud to be called terrorist. What an honour for the Palestinians!”
  • Shwaikh marked Holocaust Memorial Day, by tweeting that “The shadow of the Holocaust continues to fall over us from the continuous Israeli occupation of Palestine to the election of Trump”.
  • Shwaikh has claimed that “Zionism ideology is no different than that of Hitler’s” and she has also written that “Hitler did his deed and the Palestinians had to pay for it.”

According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is antisemitic, as is expressing support for genocidal antisemitic terrorist organisations proscribed by the British government, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but that did not stop Exeter’s students from electing her as Vice President of the University of Exeter’s Students’ Guild. In her manifesto she claimed that she has spent her life “aiming to change our society for the better and help to spread justice and fairness everywhere”, but despite her efforts to delete her tweets, her Twitter account tells a different story. She is already a trustee of the Students’ Guild.

We have also found that Shwaikh received the glowing endorsement of Malia Bouattia, the President of the National Union of Students. Bouattia praised Shwaikh’s “commitment for justice” and her “record on international peace and justice”. In return, Shwaikh called Bouattia “amazing”. In a leaked report over the weekend, Bouattia was found for the second time by NUS to have made antisemitic comments, but the report recommended that she face no consequences for her actions.

Last week the university tried to brush off an antisemitic incident in which a “Rights for Whites” sign was found in halls of residence and a swastika was found carved into a door in on-campus halls Birks Grange, with a spokesman downplaying this blatant antisemitic incident as possibly merely “an ill-judged, deeply offensive joke.” This follows another alarming antisemitic incident at the university last term in which students were photographed at a sports club social event wearing t-shirts with handwritten antisemitic slogans. One t-shirt bore the slogan: “the Holocaust was a good time.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism is closely monitoring the response to this latest disturbing outbreak of antisemitism. We would be interested to hear from students by e-mail at [email protected].

It is clear that Malaka Shwaikh has breached the University of Exeter’s disciplinary code for staff and students. We understand that she both studies and teaches at the university. Additionally she is a trustee of the Students’ Guild, which places her under obligations incumbent upon all trustees of charities under British law. Furthermore the university has obligations under the government’s Prevent counter-extremism strategy. And naturally she can be held accountable for any crimes she has committed. We will be pursuing all of these avenues until we are satisfied that the University of Exeter and the Students’ Guild have dealt exhaustively with this matter and done all that is necessary to protect their students.

Disgracefully, the University of Exeter has told Campaign Against Antisemitism that it “cannot comment on individual cases.” We are not so easily deterred.

We have met with the Director of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Baroness Amos. The meeting did not go well.

On 8th February, Campaign Against Antisemitism met with Baroness Amos, along with SOAS’s Registrar, Paula Sanderson, and its Secretary, Dr Chris Ince. While Baroness Amos recognised that the School has “a lot of work to do” to make Jewish students feel welcome on her campus, she balked when asked to accept the International Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the British government. She said that she would do “whatever is necessary to make Jewish students feel safe”, but not that.

We pointed out that SOAS has a particular problem with antisemitism, and that the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee had recommended the adoption of the International Definition. Baroness Amos countered that no law had been passed. We pointed out that the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education had censured Sheffield Hallam University for failing to consider adopting the definition. She told us that SOAS cannot adopt a definition as it is bound by the Equality Act. We pointed out that the government and the College of Policing and countless other bodies are also bound by the same Act, but they had adopted the definition.

Baroness Amos said that she would welcome a debate on campus about a definition of antisemitism but that it was a contentious issue, it “would take five years” to actually adopt any definition, and it would be an exercise in “navel gazing”. Just hours after we met with Baroness Amos, the London Assembly became the latest body to unanimously adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism following a very straightforward vote.

It is an established principle that you cannot address a problem until you have identified what it is, and adopted criteria, in this case a definition of antisemitism. That Baroness Amos refuses to even consider SOAS adopting the International Definition of Antisemitism for its disciplinary proceedings tells us all that we need to know about how serious SOAS is about addressing its antisemitism problem.

SOAS has long been nicknamed “The School of Antisemitism” for its long history of victimising Jewish students. Baroness Deech recently declared it a university Jewish students “should avoid” and Campaign Against Antisemitism has lodged complaints with SOAS and the Charity Commission over an antisemitic lecture. SOAS Palestine Society recently proposed to define what Jewish students could take offence to and Jewish students have been threatened, as detailed in a hard-hitting Evening Standard exposé last month. When the Jewish Society took their complaint to SOAS Students’ Union last month, they were stripped of their right to define what they find antisemitic.

Instead of taking the principal action requested by Campaign Against Antisemitism and students, SOAS has promised to review its Respect Policy, improve awareness of its Respect Policy, discuss equality with SOAS Students’ Union, and ensure that campus security liaises better with the Community Security Trust about safety at contentious events. In other words, they will do as little as possible, short of doing nothing at all.

It is intolerable that in 2017, in Britain’s capital, Jewish students are being victimised and their university is refusing to begin to act by accepting the International Definition of Antisemitism as used by the government and the College of Policing.

What happens next must be left up to the students who are affected by this situation. They may wish to continue negotiating with Baroness Amos, they may wish to explore official complaints and litigation, and they may wish to protest. We have offered our full support and resources to help the students with any negotiations, litigation or demonstration that they would like us to help them to pursue.

Yesterday Campaign Against Antisemitism exposed Malaka Shwaikh, who is running unopposed as Vice President of the University of Exeter’s Students’ Guild. But whilst Shwaikh busily deleted tweets, we received further reports of antisemitic tweets from Exeter students and alumni, with one heartbreaking e-mail pleading with us: “Please don’t let this person get into a position of power”.

Now we can reveal that Shwaikh tweeted in 2015: “If terrorism means protecting and defending my land, I am so proud to be called terrorist. What an honour for the Palestinians!”

Various organisations from Shwaikh’s native Gaza are genocidal antisemitic terrorist organisations proscribed by the British government, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Shwaikh is about to become Vice President of the Students’ Guild (she is already a trustee) after running unopposed. In her manifesto she claimed that she has spent her life “aiming to change our society for the better and help to spread justice and fairness everywhere”, but her Twitter account tells a different story.

Yesterday, we revealed that Shwaikh marked Holocaust Memorial Day, by tweeting that “The shadow of the Holocaust continues to fall over us from the continuous Israeli occupation of Palestine to the election of Trump”. She has claimed that “Zionism ideology is no different than that of Hitler’s” and she has also written that “Hitler did his deed and the Palestinians had to pay for it.” According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is antisemitic.

Between yesterday afternoon and this evening, the tweet was deleted along with others that had been reported to us and which were deleted before we could verify them (if you wish to report tweets to us, please always do it via e-mail rather than using Twitter, otherwise you may give the person you are reporting enough notice to cover their tracks before we can verify the tweets).

We have also found that Shwaikh received the glowing endorsement of Malia Bouattia, the President of the National Union of Students. Bouattia praised Shwaikh’s “commitment for justice” and her “record on international peace and justice”. In return, Shwaikh called Bouattia “amazing”. In a leaked report today, Bouattia was found for the second time by NUS to have made antisemitic comments, but the report recommended that she face no consequences for her actions.

Earlier this week the university tried to brush off an antisemitic incident in which a “Rights for Whites” sign was found in halls of residence and a swastika was found carved into a door in on-campus halls Birks Grange, with a spokesman downplaying this blatant antisemitic incident as possibly merely “an ill-judged, deeply offensive joke.” This follows another alarming antisemitic incident at the university last term in which students were photographed at a sports club social event wearing t-shirts with handwritten antisemitic slogans. One t-shirt bore the slogan: “the Holocaust was a good time.”

Last night the University of Exeter tweeted us their response which included a commendable statement by the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Steve Smith who said: “It is our personal and collective duty to ensure any incidents of abuse, no matter how rare, are stamped out immediately. We shall continue to ensure that everyone in, or associated with, the University feels safe, supported, accepted and welcomed. As Vice-Chancellor of the University I pledge to do everything I can to make sure that the University lives up to this commitment.”

Regrettably his statement will ring hollow whilst Malaka Shwaikh is Vice President and trustee of the Students’ Guild.

Campaign Against Antisemitism is closely monitoring the response to this latest disturbing outbreak of antisemitism. We would be interested to hear from students by e-mail at [email protected]. We will be writing to the university and the Charity Commission about this latest development.

An internal report for the National Union of Students has found that its President, Malia Bouattia, has made antisemitic comments but must face no action whatsoever as a consequence.

The report is the result of a two-month inquiry launched to ascertain whether Bouattia is an antisemite. Finding that Bouattia made comments that “could be reasonably capable of being interpreted as antisemitic”, the report recommended that no disciplinary action be taken. Instead, Professor Carol Baxter, the NHS’s former equality chief who authored the report, proposed that Bouattia should apologise instead and escape any further consequence.

Professor Baxter wrote that Bouattia had been “genuine in expressing her regret”, had “considered the impact of what she says” and had denounced antisemitism, ruling: “in light of the above mitigating circumstances no further action should be taken within the NUS disciplinary process.”

Bouattia has previously called Birmingham University a “Zionist outpost in higher education” because it has “the largest Jsoc [Jewish student society] in the country.” She has railed against “Zionist-led media outlets”, defended Palestinian terrorism as “resistance” and voted against condemning ISIS. When called on by Campaign Against Antisemitism and countless student leaders to retract her comments, she penned an article in The Guardian claiming that her accusers were simply sexists and racists. Bouattia since refused to confirm that Israel has a right to even exist, and told an audience at the School of Oriental and African Studies that the government’s anti-terrorism strategy is led by “Zionist and neo-con lobbies”. Last July Bouattia drew further condemnation when she used her casting vote to strip Jewish students of their ability to elect their own representative.

Student leaders have gone so far as to write open letters expressing embarrassment and apologising to Jewish students for the actions of Bouattia and the National Union of Students. The Union of Jewish Students has called for her resignation, as have other student groups including Oxford University Students’ Union. The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee’s Inquiry into the Rise of Antisemitism in Britain strongly criticised her.

It had been hoped that the report might redress the situation, but following the leaking of the report to The Telegraph, the report has been branded a “disgrace” and a “Labour-style stitch-up”.

This is the second time that Bouattia has been found to have made antisemitic remarks, the first time being in 2014 whilst she was serving as the salaried Black Students’ Officer.

The report now goes before the board of NUS which may decide to ask her to step down, however the reaction from NUS has been far from contrite with a spokesman trying to dismiss the report as a sexist, Islamophobic media conspiracy: “Malia has addressed the accusations of antisemitism numerous times since her election last year, including in the Sunday Times in April, the Huffington Post in October, and in writing to the 560 NUS-affiliated further and higher education students’ unions in December. The resuscitation of this story in the media is part of a sustained attack on a high-profile Muslim woman in a public position. Her family has been harassed and she is the subject of regular and serious threats. These attacks not only put her personal safety at risk but are part of a dangerous trend that deter under-represented groups from taking part in public life.”

Despite the report being issued to Bouattia several weeks ago, she has made no apology.

Gideon Falter, Chairman of Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “NUS has shown a disregard for Jewish students that is utterly shameful. This is the second time that Malia Bouattia has been found by an NUS inquiry to have made antisemitic remarks, yet NUS plans to do nothing about it. Instead of acting on the concerns of Jewish and non-Jewish student leaders whose allegations even this whitewash inquiry has partially accepted, NUS has disgraced itself further by charging that accusations of antisemitism against Malia Bouattia are simply a sexist, Islamophobic plot. Previously the problem lay squarely with Malia Bouattia, but this is the NUS’s last stand. If the board of NUS takes no action, then the problem is with NUS as a whole.”

Four days after the University of Exeter brushed off the latest antisemitic incident, we can reveal that Malaka Shwaikh, is running unopposed as Vice President of the Students’ Guild.

Shwaikh, who is already a trustee of the Students’ Guild, says that she has spent her life “aiming to change our society for the better and help to spread justice and fairness everywhere”, but her Twitter account tells a different story. To mark Holocaust Memorial Day, she tweeted that “The shadow of the Holocaust continues to fall over us from the continuous Israeli occupation of Palestine to the election of Trump”. She has claimed that “Zionism ideology is no different than that of Hitler’s” and she has also written that “Hitler did his deed and the Palestinians had to pay for it.”   According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is antisemitic.

Earlier this week the university tried to brush off an antisemitic incident in which a “Rights for Whites” sign was found in halls of residence and a swastika was found carved into a door in on-campus halls Birks Grange, with a spokesman downplaying this blatant antisemitic incident as possibly merely “an ill-judged, deeply offensive joke.” This follows another alarming antisemitic incident at the university last term in which students were photographed at a sports club social event wearing t-shirts with handwritten antisemitic slogans. One t-shirt bore the slogan: “the Holocaust was a good time.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism is closely monitoring the response to this latest disturbing outbreak of antisemitism. We would be interested to hear from students by e-mail at [email protected]. We will be writing to the university and the Charity Commission about this latest development.

Archived version

Archived version

Archived version

Archived version

Antisemitism has again reared its ugly head at a British university. The University of Exeter has opened an investigation after a swastika and a “Rights for Whites” sign were found in halls of residence. The swastika had been found carved into a door in on-campus halls Birks Grange.

It is troubling that, already, the university seems to be finding excuses and downplaying this blatant antisemitic incident with a spokesperson saying: “The investigation is ongoing and no conclusions have yet been drawn, but it appears, from initial inquiries, that this may have been an ill-judged, deeply offensive joke on the students’ part, parodying a sketch in a TV comedy show.”

The time for excuses, inertia and cowardice was over long ago. There has to be a zero tolerance approach and the University of Exeter must take immediate robust action.

This follows another alarming antisemitic incident at the university last term in which students were photographed at a sports club social event wearing t-shirts with handwritten antisemitic slogans. One t-shirt bore the slogan: “the Holocaust was a good time.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism is closely monitoring the response to this latest disturbing outbreak of antisemitism. We would be interested to hear from the victims by e-mail at [email protected].

A lecturer at the University of Bristol has allegedly been caught by one of his students writing an antisemitic article. The student, writing anonymously in the student newspaper, The Epigram, said that the article accuses “‘government elites’ of ‘manipulating’ the Holocaust” and claims that “we are discouraged from ‘critical…thinking’ about it” and that society is “privileging” the Holocaust.

According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is antisemitic. Additionally, according to the expert legal opinion commissioned by Campaign Against Antisemitism, contending that either Jews, Israel or the West have “manipulated” the Holocaust to generate sympathy for Jews or for Israel or prevent criticism of them is an allegation “chosen to be emotive and upsetting to Jewish people and to generate hostility towards them.”

The student claimed that the article was published “in one of those magazines which regularly (and proudly) publishes pieces by Holocaust deniers, ‘Jewish lobby’ conspiracy theorists, and 9/11 truthers.” As soon as we heard about the matter, we contacted The Epigram’s editor who conveyed a message to the student, but the student refused to allow The Epigram to pass details of the lecturer’s article to us, preferring to raise the issue of how the Holocaust is discussed, rather than name the lecturer and make the matter about them.

In response, the University of Bristol has offered to investigate, but like us they are unable to because the student has refused to identify the article to anybody but the editor of The Epigram on condition that the article is not disclosed to others.

Regrettably, rather than the student sparking an impactful debate, there has been precious little debate, and now the lecturer is able to continue to teach unimpeded.

Cambridge students have spoken out in support of their Jewish peers following the discovery of flyers supporting Holocaust denier David Irving found on car windscreens at the University of Cambridge’s Sidgwick lecture site, and of two swastikas drawn on a map on Jesus Green. The flyers attacked the film Denial and Jews’ account of the Holocaust, which they claimed were a “demonstrably false” Jewish lie.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary is investigating and the university has arranged patrols of staff to look for and remove any further flyers.

Meanwhile, the Austrian, Belgian, European, French, German, Hellenic, Hungarian, Irish, Dutch, Italian, Luxembourg, Polish, Russian, and Scandinavian Societies signed a joint statement decrying antisemitism and declaring solidarity with Jewish students. The Students’ Union’s Black and Minority Ethnic Campaign demanded that the incidents “should be dealt promptly and with the utmost seriousness”.

In November last year, three Jewish students were assaulted in an antisemitic attack, but the University refused to reveal the outcome of its investigations to the victims.

Professor Moshe Machover, who teaches philosophy at the University of London has been exposed voicing support for Hamas, a genocidal antisemitic terrorist organisation which is proscribed under the Terrorism Act. He also accused Jewish students of being under the control of the Israeli embassy.

During a panel event at Queen Mary University of London Friends of Palestine Society, which was recorded by blogger David Collier and reported by Cub Magazine, he said: “I’m not opposing their [Hamas’] armed struggle — they have a perfect right to resist with arms. I don’t condemn them. Who is responsible for the rise of Hamas in the Gaza strip? Israel. The most successful struggle was low level violence, popular mobilisation and kids throwing stones. In occupied Lebanon, Hizballah was using armed struggle very successfully, but in the case of Hamas their tactics aren’t very useful.” Machover appears to be complaining that terrorism by Hamas is not as effective as terrorism by Hizballah.

When asked by an audience member if “Israel had a right to exist” he replied “certainly not”. When challenged by a Jewish student, he retorted: “These are the kind of questions that the Israeli propaganda machine actually briefs its representatives to ask?…I know what briefing you get. I have been in this game before you were born, and I know what briefing you get. You always use the same formulations because you are singing from the same sheet of briefing. Long experience, it is a long experience that leads me because I know what Shai Masot [an Israeli embassy official included in an Al Jazeera film we have reported to Ofcom] is up to.” Under the International Definition of Antisemitism recently adopted by the British government, denying Israel’s right to exist and accusing Jews of being part of a conspiracy is antisemitic.

Queen Mary University of London told Cub Magazine: “We have a clear Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech within the law, and all events that take place on our premises are subject to security checks. Once these conditions are met, we believe that our students are able to judge for themselves the merits or otherwise of opinions put forward and views debated.” The Friends of Palestine Society also issued an apology for the “resentful ideologies” that were expressed.

That is just not good enough. Universities have an obligation under the government’s Prevent counter-extremism strategy to ensure that speakers do not come onto their campuses to spread messages in support terrorism or hatred. Universities are obliged to stop such speakers from speaking on their campuses, not to leave students to “judge for themselves”.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has now written to Queen Mary University of London to ascertain why Professor Machover was allowed to speak and lodge a complaint, and have additionally written to King’s College London and the London School of Economics to ascertain his employment status, and request that disciplinary proceedings be instigated.

An emergency motion proposed on 24th January by Avrahum Sanger, President of the Jewish Society at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), has been amended to avoid recognising Jewish students’ rights to decide what they find to be antisemitic. It has also declared Zionism to be a form of extremism to be combatted using a new counter-extremism policy.

On behalf of Jewish students at SOAS, Sanger had proposed a motion to restore kosher food which had been removed from Students’ Union facilities, reinstate the Jewish prayer area and mandate the Students’ Union to appoint an officer to protect Jewish students. The Union passed the motion, but only with amendments which swapped protection of Jewish students for protection of all students from all types of racism. The Union had one more condition: removal of a line in the motion confirming that “Jewish students should be given the right to self-determination and be able to define what constitutes hatred against their group like all other minority groups”. The Union then passed a counter-extremism policy, but during the debate it was made clear that it was to be used to prevent anyone with “Zionist ideology” from participating in campus life.

Since the publication of the Macpherson Report in 1999, Britain has recognised the need for minority groups to be able to define prejudice against them, and by denying that right to Jews, SOAS Students’ Union is discriminating and sending a message that Jews cannot be trusted to honestly decide for themselves what is and is not antisemitic. Additionally, the International Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the Government in December states that “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour)” is antisemitic. It echoes a finding of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee Inquiry into the Rise of Antisemitism in Britain found antisemitism to be especially severe within the student movement and stated that use of “the word ‘Zionist’ (or worse, ‘Zio’) as a term of abuse has no place in a civilised society”.

Shocked by the result, Sanger has issued a statement saying: “I proposed a simple motion calling upon the Students’ Union to protect Jewish students but they responded by declaring Jewish self-determination to be extremism and a right that Jews uniquely should not have. My university is at a crisis point. It is at risk of becoming unsafe for Jews.”

SOAS has long been nicknamed the “School of Antisemitism” for its long history of victimising Jewish students. Baroness Deech recently declared it a university Jewish students “should avoid” and Campaign Against Antisemitism has lodged complaints with SOAS and the Charity Commission over an antisemitic lecture. SOAS Palestine Society recently proposed to define what Jewish students could take offence to and Jewish students have been threatened, as detailed in a hard-hitting Evening Standard exposé last week.

SOAS is a university on the brink. Campus politics have become a nest of extremism and antisemitic bigotry. Jewish students sought their Students’ Union’s protection and in response the Union voted that Jews uniquely have no right to decide what they find offensive. Additionally the Union decided Jews alone now have no right to self-determination, and that to say otherwise is ‘extremist’. Counter-extremism has been turned on its head and is being used at SOAS to block out voices of tolerance. SOAS must take responsibility and protect its Jewish students.

We are investigating a number of options. It is intolerable that in 2017, in Britain’s capital, a major university’s student body is broadcasting at full volume that Jewish students should be discriminated against.

Malia Bouattia, President of the National Union of Students, has previously called Birmingham University a “Zionist outpost in higher education” because it has “the largest Jsoc [Jewish student society] in the country.” She has railed against “Zionist-led media outlets”, defended Palestinian terrorism as “resistance” and voted against condemning ISIS. When called on by Campaign Against Antisemitism and countless student leaders to retract her comments, she penned an article in The Guardian claiming that her accusers were simply sexists and racists. Bouattia then drew further condemnation in July when she used her casting vote to strip Jewish students of their ability to elect their own representative.

Student leaders have gone so far as to write open letters expressing embarrassment and apologising to Jewish students for the actions of Bouattia and the National Union of Students. The Union of Jewish Students has called for her resignation, as have other student groups including Oxford University Students’ Union. The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee’s Inquiry into the Rise of Antisemitism in Britain strongly criticised her.

It is outrageous that Malia Bouattia has been invited to the national Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony whilst remaining totally unrepentant over her past comments and actions.

A hard-hitting feature by Rosamund Urwin in London’s Evening Standard has exposed to London’s public the sad truth that most British Jews have long known: that SOAS, the School of Oriental and African Studies, might just as well be named the School of Antisemitism.

Noting SOAS students’ reputation for championing civil rights, and its proud tradition of nurturing future activists from 133 countries around the world, Urwin calls out the festering antisemitism that stains SOAS’s image with hypocrisy. Urwin is scathing in her analysis, pointing out that SOAS Students’ Union has a People of Colour Officer, two Anti-Racism Officers and an Equality and Liberation Co-President.

Urwin calls out the festering antisemitism that stains SOAS’s image with hypocrisy.

In December the cross-bench peer Baroness Deech told the Daily Telegraph’s Education Editor, Camilla Turner, that “amongst Jewish students there is gradually a feeling that there are certain universities that you should avoid — definitely SOAS”.

Incidents at SOAS have been causing serious concern, and those concerns centre around the activities of SOAS Palestine Society. Urwin notes that the Palestine Society is a dominant force on campus: “The Israel-Palestine conflict dominates discussion of global affairs at many universities but nowhere more so than at SOAS. In 2015 the union held a referendum where it voted to boycott Israel. And last year, it held an Israeli Apartheid Week ‘to raise awareness of Israel’s apartheid policies over the Palestinian people’.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism can reveal that the Palestine Society receives more funding than all but two of the 187 other non-sport societies at SOAS, receiving approximately 8% of the funds spent on non-sport societies every year.

It seems unlikely that the current leaders of the Palestine Society will face any consequences for arranging an antisemitic lecture on their campus.

In November, Campaign Against Antisemitism filed a complaint over an antisemitic event lecture organised by SOAS Palestine Society and the response we received showed little urgency. SOAS told us that the Students’ Union — a separate body — had investigated and was now in discussions with the Charity Commission. We found that the Students’ Union had declared the event not to have been antisemitic and that is what they told the Charity Commission. We wrote to the Charity Commission to set the record straight, but now it seems that nobody at SOAS intends to do anything to right this wrong until the Charity Commission has investigated, which is likely to take until after the protagonists have graduated and left SOAS for good. It seems unlikely that the current leaders of the Palestine Society will face any consequences for arranging an antisemitic lecture on their campus.

Shortly after the antisemitic lecture, in response to criticism, the Palestine Society planned a new event. SOAS’s Jewish students discovered that the Palestine Society planned to hold an event defining antisemitism, telling Jews what they are allowed to find offensive, and attempting to justify certain forms of Jew-hatred. It is hard to imagine SOAS inviting a speaker to tell black or gay students that they are no longer allowed to be offended by certain types of racism or homophobia — such an event would trigger a national outcry. In this case, there was only a Jewish outcry, and Palestine Society was quietly pressed to cancel the event, which they did.

“Some students tell me they are too scared to wear the star of David, or speak Hebrew”

Intimidation of Jewish students at SOAS is not difficult, mainly because the Jewish student population is small: Urwin discovered a 2016 Freedom of Information request which found that only 39 of the 5,900 students at SOAS admitted to being Jewish on their signup forms, and Avrahum Sanger, President of SOAS Jewish Society says that only about seven are active in Jewish life on campus, such that it is. “Some students tell me they are too scared to wear the star of David, or speak Hebrew, and Israeli students don’t want to attend Jewish events because they’re afraid of being singled out,” Sanger tells Urwin. He continues: “Even I feel uneasy when I go into the student union. And yet someone from the student union told me that the anti-racism officers didn’t have a mandate to address antisemitism as it wasn’t in their manifesto. Anyway, the only form of antisemitism people think of here is Hitler.”

It is no surprise. Graffiti found at SOAS in April last year threatened “BDS or else”, referring to the campaign to sever all ties with Israel. But Israel is the place from which Judaism originates and where half of the world’s Jewish population lives. Since its establishment it has been the one country that offers persecuted Jews from around the world unconditional safe haven. It is the religious and cultural heart of Judaism. To tell Jews that they will be treated as pariahs unless they renounce all connection to Israel and Israelis is antisemitic. Yet not only is that what SOAS’ few Jewish students are expected to do according to their Students’ Union, this graffiti appears to be threatening violence if they fail to comply. Few incidents are recorded in graffiti however, and we hear of too many incidents in which Jewish students are told, for example: “Why don’t you and your family f*** off to Israel?”

It is sobering to imagine for a moment that you are a Jewish student returning from lectures, and you stumble upon a vigil held for terrorist thugs who killed Jews for being Jews at the behest of genocidal antisemitic terrorist organisations like Hamas.

The influence of extremism on campus is also clear, though rarely highlighted. One such glimpse came in November 2015, when the Palestine Society organised a “vigil” commemorating the deaths of 72 Palestinian “martyrs” despite the fact that some of the “martyrs” were Islamist terrorists who had been killed attempting to murder Israeli Jews for being Jews, and who had declared allegiance to terrorist groups proscribed under EU and British terrorism laws. The absurd coverage of the resulting controversy in SOAS Spirit, a student newspaper, shows the nature of discourse on campus. It is sobering to imagine for a moment that you are a Jewish student returning from lectures, and you stumble upon a vigil held for terrorist thugs who killed Jews for being Jews at the behest of genocidal antisemitic terrorist organisations like Hamas.

Sanger feels that the situation is desperate. He revealed to Urwin that he has proposed an emergency motion at the Students’ Union, calling for equality for Jewish students. Having to propose such a motion at a major British university in 2017 should be the stuff of nightmares, not reality. Sanger’s motion highlights the disappearance of kosher provision and the withdrawal of a Jewish prayer area. He also wants the Students’ Union to appoint a Jewish Officer to work with the Anti-Racism Officers and to help to organise a workshop on antisemitism in Freshers’ Week.

Campaign Against Antisemitism continues to pursue its complaints with SOAS and the Charity Commission. We are extremely grateful to Rosamund Urwin for her coverage of this issue, and to Avrahum Sanger for his bravery in standing up to antisemitism at SOAS.

In a bold statement on its website, the Oxford University Students’ Union has taken a firm stand with Jewish students against antisemitism, demanding that the President of the National Union of Students apologise for her past comments or resign, and that the University of Oxford rectify its “inadequate” response to rampant antisemitism exposed at Oxford University Labour Club.

The Union stated: “we believe that it should be Jewish students who decide what constitutes antisemitism” and admitted that “there are antisemitism problems in Oxford, as have been highlighted by the Home Affairs Select Committee report and the Royall report.”

The Union’s statement continued: “we cannot ignore or dismiss the hurt and anger caused by statements made by [NUS President] Malia Bouattia. We echo calls from Jewish students for a full and formal apology for her language and comments, condemn the lack of apology thus far, and agree that if no apology is made, the appropriate course of action would be resignation.”

Bouattia has previously called Birmingham University a “Zionist outpost in higher education” because it has “the largest Jsoc [Jewish student society] in the country.” She has railed against “Zionist-led media outlets”, defended Palestinian terrorism as “resistance” and voted against condemning ISIS. When called on by Campaign Against Antisemitism and countless student leaders to retract her comments, she penned an article in The Guardian claiming that her accusers were simply sexists and racists. Bouattia then drew further condemnation in July when she used her casting vote to strip Jewish students of their ability to elect their own representative. Student leaders have even gone so far as to write open letters expressing embarrassment and apologising to Jewish students for the actions of Bouattia and the National Union of Students.

Regarding the Oxford University Labour Club, the Union’s statement was scathing, voicing “disappointment felt over the inadequate response from the University”.

In February last year, Co-Chair of the Oxford University Labour Club, Alex Chalmers, decided to resign after the club voted to embrace “Israel Apartheid Week”. Chalmers wrote about his resignation in a hard-hitting Facebook post, saying: “Whether it be members of the Executive throwing around the term ‘Zio’ (a term for Jews usually confined to websites run by the Ku Klux Klan) with casual abandon, senior members of the club expressing their ‘solidarity’ with Hamas and explicitly defending their tactics of indiscriminately murdering civilians, or a former Co-Chair claiming that ‘most accusations of antisemitism are just the Zionists crying wolf’, a large proportion of both OULC and the student left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews. The decision of the club to endorse a movement with a history of targeting and harassing Jewish students and inviting antisemitic speakers to campuses, despite the concerns of Jewish students, illustrates how uneven and insincere much of the active membership is when it comes to liberation.”

The University of Oxford has largely failed to take any action whatsoever.

It is refreshing to hear a students’ union taking such a forceful stand in defence of its Jewish members.

The Union of Jewish Students’ Campaigns Director, Josh Nagli, appears to have spurned suggestions by Sir Eric Pickles and Baroness Deech that new laws are needed to fight antisemitism on campus.

In remarks to the Daily Telegraph, Baroness Deech said: “Amongst Jewish students, there is gradually a feeling that there are certain universities that you should avoid. Definitely SOAS, Manchester I think is now not so popular because of things that have happened there, Southampton, Exeter and so on.” In a separate Daily Telegraph interview, Sir Eric Pickles praised Baroness Deech’s comments and warned that he was looking at proposing laws that would force universities to act against antisemitism, saying: “I am looking at [new legislation] with a favourable eye.”

However Mr Nagli used the opportunity of an opinion piece in the Daily Telegraph to hit back at the comments, writing that: “Baroness Deech’s comments are alarmist and frankly, wrong.” Arguing that “Antisemitism is not rife”, Mr Nagli berated Baroness Deech, accusing her of “inflammatory language [that] does not reflect the experiences of Jewish students” and reproaching her because he believed that she had not “allowed Jewish students to speak for themselves”

Mr Nagli reached the opposite conclusion to Baroness Deech, asserting that: “While some do have negative experiences, the research, as well as our regular interactions with thousands of students, shows decisively that every day on almost every campus – and almost every day at the remaining handful – Jewish students safely, fully and freely express their Judaism and relationship with Israel.”

We find Mr Nagli’s upbraiding of Baroness Deech unfortunate. Baroness Deech is extremely closely linked to Jewish students through initiatives she supports and is familiar with the university system through her extensive work with universities during her career. Sir Eric Pickles is also acutely attuned to the rise of antisemitism in Britain and is in no way “alarmist”.

A litany of incidents on campuses has rightly caused concern about antisemitism on campuses. Campaign Against Antisemitism has begun a programme to recruit students following incidents at UCLSOASLSEOxfordCambridgeBirminghamCoventryKentEdinburghGlasgow and others. Recent complaints to both York and Sheffield Hallam have led to admissions of major systemic problems with antisemitism and compensation being paid. Meanwhile at a national level, the National Union of Students has elected a President whose actions have been widely condemned, including by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee.

Despite these severe and widespread problems, there has been very little action by universities themselves and Universities UK, whose report into hatred on campuses was broadly welcomed, including by the Union of Jewish Students, but condemned by Campaign Against Antisemitism as a “recipe for continued antisemitism”.

We agree entirely with Mr Nagli that alarmism is wrong, and that Jewish students should be allowed to speak for themselves, but he goes beyond that, accusing Baroness Deech of being alarmist when she was simply raising the alarm, and accusing her of not letting students speak for themselves when in fact she dedicates a great proportion of her time to empowering students — speaking about problems students face does not stop students from speaking for themselves.

We are greatly concerned by rising antisemitism on campuses, enabled by the failure of universities to take robust action. We welcomed Baroness Deech’s questioning of donations to universities from despotic antisemitic regimes and Sir Eric Pickles’ interest in legislation to force universities to take action against antisemitism.

In separate interviews with the Daily Telegraph, Baroness Deech and Sir Eric Pickles have attacked British universities for their failure to tackle antisemitism on campuses.

A litany of incidents on campuses has been causing increasing concern. Campaign Against Antisemitism has begun a programme to recruit students following incidents at UCL, SOAS, LSE, Oxford, Cambridge, BirminghamCoventry, Kent, Edinburgh, Glasgow and others. Recent complaints to both York and Sheffield Hallam have led to admissions of major systemic problems with antisemitism and compensation being paid. Meanwhile at a national level, the National Union of Students has elected a President whose actions have been widely condemned, including by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee.

Despite these severe and widespread problems, there has been very little action by universities themselves and Universities UK, whose report into hatred on campuses was broadly welcomed, but condemned by Campaign Against Antisemitism as a “recipe for continued antisemitism”.

Baroness Deech, who was the first ever Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, told the Daily Telegraph’s Camilla Turner: “Amongst Jewish students, there is gradually a feeling that there are  certain universities that you should avoid.” She cited the University of Oxford”s failure to investigate widespread allegations of antisemitism as an example saying that despite receiving a full dossier, university authorities “haven’t actually done anything. They have not opened an investigation into any individuals. So in other words they are just kicking it out into the long grass.”

In a separate interview, Sir Eric Pickles, the former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, told the Daily Telegraph’s Camilla Turner: “I was certainly worried when I was Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and I have felt worried ever since. I have felt for some time that universities have at best been inactive about antisemitism and have turned a blind eye to it. They have shown grave cowardice. The classic definition of dealing with racism and antisemitism is those who stand by and do nothing.” He added that he will be discussing new legislation with Baroness Deech, saying: “I am looking at [new legislation] with a favourable eye.”

Baroness Deech felt that the universities’ failure to deal with antisemitism might be due to their dependence on donations from virulently antisemitic oppressive dictatorships: “Many universities are in receipt of or are chasing very large donations from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states and so on, and maybe they are frightened of offending them,” she said. “I don’t know why they aren’t doing anything about it, it really is a bad situation.”

We commend Baroness Deech and Sir Eric Pickles for their outspoken defence of Jewish students and their pointed exposure of universities’ tendency to dodge the issue of antisemitism and attempt to absolve themselves of responsibility for dealing with it.

As though to prove their point, various university spokespeople rushed to affirm that they were doing an excellent job of dealing with antisemitism and that antisemitism had “no place” on campuses, whilst pointing to absolutely no initiatives that they are undertaking to tackle the problem.

Coventry University has called in the police after Jewish students found a swastika on campus. The swastika was found on 1st December by Josephine Davidoff and Zac Davies in the library. The swastika was depicted using masking tape on a radiator. CCTV has been checked for evidence unsuccessfully, but Coventry University’s Jewish Society has commended the firm handling of the incident by university authorities.

Last month, Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Programme Manager was attacked by an antisemite whilst walking through Coventry.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has written to the Charity Commission after SOAS Students’ Union, which is a registered charity, told a Charity Commission investigator that “we do not believe that there was any antisemitism” at an antisemitic lecture, and that the lecture was “an appropriate meeting for the Palestine Society to run in the way it was run”. The comments were in a letter from the trustees of SOAS Students’ Union to the Charity Commission which has been seen by Campaign Against Antisemitism.

The lecture in November was given to SOAS Palestine Society by Thomas Suarez to promote his book, “State of Terror”. Throughout the lecture, antisemitic comments were made which SOAS Palestine Society failed to challenge.

Volunteers from Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Demonstration and Event Monitoring Unit (DEMU) found that during the lecture, it was claimed that Zionists are mobilising subversive power to “outlaw” criticism of their activities, the creation of Israel was a “racist”, “facist” endeavour, the actions of Zionists and Israel are comparable to those of Nazi Germany, and Zionists historically radicalised Jewish children and engineered increases in antisemitism, all of which is antisemitic according to the International Definition of Antisemitism.

The only intervention by SOAS Palestine Society was to threaten to “call security” when they became suspicious that a woman was recording the lecture.

Citing recent findings of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee and the International Definition of Antisemitism, Campaign Against Antisemitism has written to the Charity Commission to point out the blatant antisemitism contained in the lecture, including the following quotations:

  • “Zionists are so terrified of daylight on their cult, that there are moves afoot to outlaw any derogatory reference of the word”
  • “The wildcard to this is the US participation in World War I. Even at the time, some people alleged that Palestine was payback for the use of Zionist pressure to get the United States to enter World War I. There is no proof of that. What is clear in Cabinet records is that there was something going on with World War I, with Zionists in the United States and the US entering. That is clear in the records, but to go so far as to say there was a deal made with that is not a premise.”
  • “the idea of going somewhere where one could act out racial superiority was seductive”
  • “Israel has one of the largest militaries, but its most powerful weapon, the weapon without which all of its others would be impotent is its narrative, its creation of its autobiography. This narrative does not merely put a pretty gloss on this reality, as all nations have their narratives, it actually turns the truth upside down. And this complete arsenal in this narrative is embodied in a three-word bullet. That bullet is a three-word phrase: ‘The Jewish state’. This is a unique phenomenon in the World. No other nation has such a device as this. Israel does not use Judaism as a national religion. In fact, I may be wrong, but as far as I am aware, Judaism is not a national faith of Israel. Rather, crammed into those three words are all of Jewry, Judaism, Jewish history, culture, persecution, and most cynical and exploitative of all, the Holocaust. This three-word phrase expropriates all of these into a human shield.”
  • “The fascist nature of the Zionist enterprise was apparent to US intelligence, British intelligence and Jewish informants.”
  • “The radicalisation of children was the methodology of the Jewish Agency.”
  • “Zionism was a parallel movement to Nazism”
  • “Israel can hold Jewish identity for ransom”
  • “Zionist so-called immigration was from the beginning the expropriation of land, labour and resources”
  • “[Zionists] conspired to try and increase antisemitism in order to force Jews to Palestine”

Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Regulatory Enforcement Unit has also complained directly to SOAS, prompting an investigation.

Last month, a protest at UCL became violent and intimidatory. Protesters against the presence of an Israeli speaker at the university surrounded a room full of predominantly Jewish students, allegedly assaulted three female students, and even jumped through a window to confront the terrified audience. Campaign Against Antisemitism then found antisemitic tweets by one of the ringleaders of the protest, which we reported to the university and the police.

Now, Campaign Against Antisemitism and UCL’s Jewish Society are holding a public meeting at UCL on 30th November at 19:00 at which Campaign Against Antisemitism Chairman, Gideon Falter, will talk about the relationship between antisemitism on campus and anti-Israel activism.

Please book your free place by entering your details:

Three Jewish students have accused Christ’s College at the University of Cambridge of covering up an extremely severe antisemitic incident.

The College said it has disciplined two students but cleared them of antisemitism and refused to identify the perpetrators or even confirm whether they had been punished in any way.

The Jewish students said that they were attacked by seven men when they entered the graduate union building in Mill Lane. The bar area had been rented out for a party jointly held by the sporting societies of Christ’s College.

One of the victims, Shlomo Roiter-Jesner, 25, told The Telegraph: “It was a closed party so we walked out but as we did so these individuals started getting more physical and more vocal and they noticed our kippot [Jewish skullcaps]. All of a sudden they were shouting: ‘Jew, get f*** out of here’. We tried to leave but they were yelling at us.”

In an e-mail to Professor Jane Stapleton, Master of Christ’s College, sent a day after the attacks, another of the Jewish students, wrote: “We heard shouting and were literally grabbed and pulled out of the building by about seven large, intimidating males. We, and other bystanders, heard a number of vicious antisemitic slurs including ‘F***ing Jew, you don’t belong here’, ‘dirty Jew’ and to myself, ‘f*** off, darkie’. They then proceeded to try and choke my friend with his scarf, leaving him gasping for oxygen, and to push me and the third friend around, despite our attempts to de-escalate the situation. They eventually went back in after threatening to ‘smash our faces in’.”

According to The Telegraph, Professor Stapleton wrote in response that the trio had every right to take the matter to police but if they chose not to do so the College would order an immediate inquiry. The victims did not go to the police and instead left the College to investigate. The College obtained CCTV footage of the attack but it contained no audio recording.

On November 18, Mr Roiter-Jesner received an e-mail from Professor Stapleton merely informing him: “The internal disciplinary process of the tutors is now concluded and two students have been disciplined. Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism is in contact with the victims as it appears that crimes were committed, which should be investigated by the police.

 

Last month, a protest at UCL became violent and intimidatory. Protesters against the presence of an Israeli speaker at the university surrounded a room full of predominantly Jewish students, allegedly assaulted three female students, and even jumped through a window to confront the terrified audience. Campaign Against Antisemitism then found antisemitic tweets by one of the ringleaders of the protest, which we reported to the university and the police.

Now, Campaign Against Antisemitism and UCL’s Jewish Society are holding a public meeting at UCL on 30th November at 19:00 (please note the change of date) at which Campaign Against Antisemitism Chairman, Gideon Falter, will talk about the relationship between antisemitism on campus and anti-Israel activism.

Please book your free place by entering your details:

Last Thursday, the Palestine Society at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) organised a lecture by Thomas Suarez to promote his book, “State of Terror”. Throughout the lecture, antisemitic comments were made which SOAS Palestine Society failed to challenge.

Volunteers from Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Demonstration and Event Monitoring Unit (DEMU) found that during the lecture, it was claimed that Zionists are mobilising subversive power to “outlaw” criticism of their activities, the creation of Israel was a “racist”, “facist” endeavour, the actions of Zionists and Israel are comparable to those of Nazi Germany, and Zionists historically radicalised Jewish children and engineered increases in antisemitism, all of which is antisemitic according to the International Definition of Antisemitism.

The only intervention by SOAS Palestine Society was to threaten to “call security” when they became suspicious that a woman was recording the lecture.

Citing recent findings of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee and a recent decision of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, Campaign Against Antisemitism is filing a complaint with SOAS alleging multiple breaches of its “Core Values” and “Student Charter”.

The letter drew SOAS Director Baroness Amos’ attention to various parts of the lecture including the following quotations:

  • “Zionists are so terrified of daylight on their cult, that there are moves afoot to outlaw any derogatory reference of the word”
  • “The wildcard to this is the US participation in World War I. Even at the time, some people alleged that Palestine was payback for the use of Zionist pressure to get the United States to enter World War I. There is no proof of that. What is clear in Cabinet records is that there was something going on with World War I, with Zionists in the United States and the US entering. That is clear in the records, but to go so far as to say there was a deal made with that is not a premise.”
  • “the idea of going somewhere where one could act out racial superiority was seductive”
  • “Israel has one of the largest militaries, but its most powerful weapon, the weapon without which all of its others would be impotent is its narrative, its creation of its autobiography. This narrative does not merely put a pretty gloss on this reality, as all nations have their narratives, it actually turns the truth upside down. And this complete arsenal in this narrative is embodied in a three-word bullet. That bullet is a three-word phrase: ‘The Jewish state’. This is a unique phenomenon in the World. No other nation has such a device as this. Israel does not use Judaism as a national religion. In fact, I may be wrong, but as far as I am aware, Judaism is not a national faith of Israel. Rather, crammed into those three words are all of Jewry, Judaism, Jewish history, culture, persecution, and most cynical and exploitative of all, the Holocaust. This three-word phrase expropriates all of these into a human shield.”
  • “The fascist nature of the Zionist enterprise was apparent to US intelligence, British intelligence and Jewish informants.”
  • “The radicalisation of children was the methodology of the Jewish Agency.”
  • “Zionism was a parallel movement to Nazism”
  • “Israel can hold Jewish identity for ransom”
  • “Zionist so-called immigration was from the beginning the expropriation of land, labour and resources”
  • “[Zionists] conspired to try and increase antisemitism in order to force Jews to Palestine”

The complaint, drafted by Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Regulatory Enforcement Unit concludes: “Baroness Amos, Jewish students are currently feeling threatened and isolated, not only at SOAS but at universities around the country. SOAS has the opportunity and the obligation to show in the firmest possible manner that those who engage in antisemitism at the School will suffer dire consequences for their actions, and that those who belittle or tolerate antisemitism will similarly be shown no quarter. SOAS is sometimes referred to in the Jewish community as the ‘School of Antisemitism’. We hope that by your actions you will demonstrate that this reputation is no longer deserved.”

On Friday, a report by Universities UK was released which made recommendations on fighting antisemitism. The 114-page report, which covers violence against women, harassment and all types of hate crime is the culmination of a study by a specially-convened Universities UK Taskforce. It is a tremendously disappointing document.

The report set out by spectacularly failing to grasp the scale of campus antisemitism. Firstly, the report cited figures for 2015 from the Community Security Trust noting that 21 incidents of antisemitism had been reported to the charity’s reporting helpline by students, comprising just 2% of the cases reported. The report based its assertions that antisemitism was not at alarming levels on that data, despite admitting that under-reporting was likely to be a significant problem. Indeed, the likely reason that so few cases of antisemitism are reported on campus is that such incidents have become so frequent, and the response so lacking, that Jewish students see reporting incidents as a waste of their time. Under-reporting is a symptom of a failure to enforce, but Universities UK did not draw that conclusion.

The report also cited a study from 2011 by the Equality Challenge Unit which asked just 20 Jewish students whether they felt discriminated against or harassed. Despite a quarter of them saying that they did, Universities UK concluded that the “vast majority” did not suffer problems. We would suggest that a quarter of Jewish students suffering from antisemitism is no cause for celebration, but in any case we wonder how Universities UK can possibly justify reliance on a survey of just 20 Jews.

The report’s principal failure however is not to have recommended firm steps against antisemitism. Instead, the report offered no significant new recommendations, instead merely congratulating universities on their good work and merely exhorting them to continue what they already do.

Whereas the report was commendably thorough in analysing violence against women, it cited multiple definitions of antisemitism but did not lend its backing to any of them.

Antisemitism at universities is a major problem. Those responsible for tackling it must have a detailed understanding of the challenges Jewish students face, and the forms antisemitism on campus often takes.

Universities UK missed the opportunity to meaningfully grapple with antisemitism. They failed to show any evidence in their report that they had understood the challenges that Jewish students face, and by recommending more of the same when it comes to fighting antisemitism on campus, Universities UK is simply sentencing Jewish students to a future in which antisemitism continues to rise, relatively undisturbed. All the more reason to be thankful for the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee’s report on antisemitism in the UK, which addressed antisemitism at universities with specific recommendations.

Writing in The Times, the President of the Union of Jewish Students, Josh Seitler, has called on the President of the National Union of Students, Malia Bouattia, to fight antisemitism head on, or step down. In a scathing article, Seitler told Bouattia: “you have failed to act and so I am forced to say that the time for action is fast running out; it’s time to act now or it might be time for you to step down.”

Bouattia has previously called Birmingham University a “Zionist outpost in higher education” because it has “the largest Jsoc [Jewish student society] in the country.” She has railed against “Zionist-led media outlets”, defended Palestinian terrorism as “resistance” and voted against condemning ISIS. When called on by Campaign Against Antisemitism and countless student leaders to retract her comments, she penned an article in The Guardian claiming that her accusers were simply sexists and racists. Bouattia then drew further condemnation in July when she used her casting vote to strip Jewish students of their ability to elect their own representative. Student leaders have even gone so far as to write open letters expressing embarrassment and apologising to Jewish students for the actions of Bouattia and the National Union of Students.

The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee’s report into the rise of antisemitism in the UK released two weeks ago said that Bouattia “does not appear to take sufficiently seriously the issue of antisemitism on campus, and has responded to Jewish students’ concerns about her previous language with defensiveness and an apparent unwillingness to listen to their concerns…Referring to Birmingham University as a ‘Zionist outpost’ (and similar comments) smacks of outright racism.” In response, members of the National Union of Students’ Executive Committee joined an open letter claiming that the Home Affairs Committee was on a mission to “delegitimise NUS, and discredit Malia Bouattia”.

Bouattia continues to refute both criticism and attempts at dialogue, including from Campaign Against Antisemitism.

Dozens of student leaders from around the UK have signed an open letter condemning antisemitism within the National Union of Students (NUS).

The letter condemns the leadership of NUS, but the specific criticism is all aimed at the actions of Malia Bouattia, the new President NUS. In the letter, the student leaders write: “Over the past 6 months, NUS’ Leadership has rightly come under increased scrutiny for its attitude towards Jewish students. They have been held to account for undermining Jewish students’ ability to elect their own representatives, and challenged on antisemitic rhetoric.”

The letter said that “Time and time again Jewish students have not felt safe participating in our national movement, because of the actions and rhetoric of leadership of NUS.” The letter ended with a plea to Jewish students not to feel isolated, and the student leaders even apologised to Jewish students for what had been done in the name of NUS: “We, the undersigned, stand with Jewish students in their right to feel represented, safe and welcome in participating in NUS’ democracy. We must listen to Jewish students when they say something is antisemitic. We apologise for anything or anyone that would make you feel otherwise, and promise to respect, champion and listen to your concerns. The student movement and NUS is absolutely a place for you.”

NUS has been plagued by students’ unions disaffiliating from the national union over antisemitism and other issues.

The Labour Party’s inquiry into allegations of antisemitism in the Oxford University Labour Club has today been leaked. Carried out by Baroness Jan Royall, the report was commissioned after Alex Chalmers, Co-Chair of the club, resigned in February 2016 stating rampant levels of antisemitism as his reason for doing so. The incident brought antisemitism in the Labour Party into the public spotlight, and Campaign Against Antisemitism met Baroness Royall to assist her inquiry.

The full version of Baroness Royall’s report was originally kept secret, with only the executive summary being published in May. It was then expected to be published in full alongside the wider-ranging Chakrabarti Inquiry report into antisemitism in the Labour Party last month, but instead Baroness Royall was brought into the Chakrabarti Inquiry as a Co-Vice Chair, perhaps as a means of keeping her quiet. Baroness Royall’s report remained unpublished and the report issued by the Chakrabarti Inquiry was a total whitewash. The JC has now published a leaked copy of Baroness Royall’s full report.

Baroness Royall finds “no evidence that the Club is itself institutionally antisemitic” but notes a “cultural problem in which behaviour and language that would once have been intolerable is now tolerated. Some Jewish members do not feel comfortable attending the meetings, let alone participating.”

Looking at the wider issue of antisemitism, she also explains that “a pervading discourse now is that Jews are neither weak, nor poor, neither workers, nor have-nots. In short, Jews cannot be victims and cannot be discriminated against.” She goes on to say that “being anti-Zionist…is often used deliberately as a tool of antisemitism”.

Baroness Royall further notes “an environment in which Jews cannot debate, or feel safe to do so, unless their every remark is prefaced by a criticism of the Israeli government”. While she explains that a clear definition of what is antisemitic “can provide useful tools for helping consider what may, or may not, constitute antisemitic discourse” and urges the Chakrabarti Inquiry “to consider this carefully”, the Chakrabarti enquiry conspicuously avoided defining antisemitism.

The full text of Baroness Royall’s report does not change our opinion following the publication of the partial report. The full report tells us nothing new, except that Baroness Royall thinks that Alex Chalmers was wrong when he resigned as Co-Chair of Oxford University Labour Club over rampant institutional antisemitism.

The leaking of Baroness Royall’s report has revealed that it too fails to identify individuals who are guilty of antisemitism within the Labour Party. It now seems that this reluctance to name those responsible may be a reflection of Labour’s inner conflicts.

The Young Labour conference at Scarborough followed shortly after Young Labour’s own suppressed investigation. It became clear at that Scarborough conference that some of the individuals alleged to be guilty of antisemitism at Oxford are the same young politicians with important roles in Momentum, the movement that help engineer the election of Jeremy Corbyn.

The fact that they are under suspicion lends greater urgency to the task of providing transparency on this issue, which the Labour party refuses to do.

Yet again, it seems that the needs for political expediency outranks the desire of the Labour Party’s leadership to confront the antisemitism in its ranks.

The National Union of Students has voted to remove the right of Jewish students to choose their representative on the union’s Anti-Racism and Anti-Fascism Committee. In previous years, the Jewish student representative bodies (representing around 8,500 registered Jewish students) were consulted and had a say in choosing the Jewish representative on the committee. That is no longer the case, and now the decision will be solely that of NUS’s National Executive Committee and its President Malia Bouattia. Indeed it was Bouattia who approved the amendment, using her casting vote.

Malia Bouattia has called Birmingham University a “Zionist outpost in higher education” because it has “the largest Jsoc [Jewish student society] in the country.” She has railed against “Zionist-led media outlets”, defended Palestinian terrorism as “resistance” and voted against condemning ISIS. When CAA and others called on her to retract her comments, condemn terrorism and endorse the NUS policy on antisemitism she counterclaimed instead.

Given Malia Bouattia’s track record on Jewish matters, it may not come as a surprise that it was her casting vote that condemned the Jewish student body to lose the right to choose its representative in the NUS campaign against racism and fascism.

The Union of Jewish Students has condemned the decision, saying that this just another example of “Jews being pushed out of university life”.

This is another instance of the welfare of Jewish students being deliberately ignored, and voices of Jewish students being shunned. Furthermore, by replacing the Jewish students’ representative with an unendorsed committee member, there is a clear risk that the perpetrators of antisemitism will feel protected.

In reality, this decision can only open the door to antisemites and denude the NUS of its ability to represent and protect Jewish students. Just in April, Bouattia said she would “listen to and understand Jewish concerns”. Once again she has listened, understood, and done the opposite of what was asked.

University of York Students’ Union has made a public apology and offered £1,000 to a Jewish student whose university career was wrecked by antisemitic incidents. It is the first case of its kind. Zachary Confino, 21, a law student, suffered stress and narrowly missed a first-class degree, after two years of battling with antisemitism from anti-Israeli students at the University of York. Jo Johnson MP, the Universities Minister, intervened to help broker the public, written apology from the university’s students’ union over his treatment.

It is right that the students’ union should apologise for the way in which it reacted to Zachary Confino’s complaints about antisemitism. But their apology and payment of compensation are not enough. There must also be a commitment to fighting antisemitism properly, something they failed to do in this case.

It should not be necessary for individual Jewish students to fight lengthy battles with their students’ unions over the course of many months or years in order to have Jew-hatred dealt with properly.

Students who abused Zachary by suggesting Hitler “was onto something” ought to have been disciplined for their racial abuse and bullying. How many other Jewish students do not have the incredible strength and dedication of Zachary Confino to fight the antisemitism they experience? And when will British universities start to fight it for them, as they should fight all forms racism within their student and professional membership?

Baroness Royall has concluded her inquiry into antisemitism at the Oxford University Labour Club. Rampant antisemitism burst to the fore in February when Alex Chalmers, Co-Chair of the club resigned because “a large proportion of both OULC and the student left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism met with Baroness Royall to contribute to her inquiry, however it does not seem that our recommendations have been adopted.

Only the Executive Summary of the report has been published, and it tells us nothing new, except that Baroness Royall thinks that Alex Chalmers was wrong when he resigned over institutional antisemitism. We are left to wonder what was left out of the publication, and why the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee has not permitted it to be fully revealed today.

There are no public findings about the antisemitic incidents at the club and those who perpetrated them, and it seems that the report is designed to be unremarkable. Perhaps this is because Baroness Royall has been made Co-Vice Chair of the desperately flawed Chakrabati inquiry into antisemitism in Labour.

In the run-up to the election of Malia Bouattia as President of the National Union of Students last week, delegates to the union’s annual conference heard a great deal about her views. They heard that she has called Birmingham University a “Zionist outpost in higher education” because it has “the largest Jsoc [Jewish student society] in the country.” She has railed against “Zionist-led media outlets”. She has defended Palestinian terrorism as “resistance”. She has led opposition to the union condemning ISIS.

Yet the delegates at the National Union of Students Conference, ignored the warnings and elected Bouattia anyway, on behalf of the more than two million students across the United Kingdom whom the delegates supposedly represent. As if to reinforce the point that the union was in the grip of utterly perverse, unrepresentative student politicians, shortly before electing Bouattia, the delegates debated whether to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, with fierce applause for the students who condemned Holocaust Memorial Day for not being ‘inclusive’ enough.

Disturbed by Bouattia’s election, Campaign Against Antisemitism, backed by over 1,500 people who signed our open letter, called on her to retract her comments, condemn terrorism and endorse her union’s policy on antisemitism. Today she answered us and the many students’ unions up and down the country who have been threatening to disaffiliate from the National Union of Students.

Writing in today’s Guardian, Bouattia was clear as mud. When she said that the media was “Zionist-led” she says she meant that the media just favoured Zionism. She did not address her comments about the University of Birmingham’s Jewish society, nor did she explain away her defence of despicable acts by proscribed Palestinian terrorist groups as “resistance”. She claimed that her opposition to condemning ISIS was a principled stand against “Islamophobia” and that her campaign against the government’s Prevent counter-extremism strategy is simply her way of defending “civil liberties”.

Even if we accept her excuses, we still do not have an answer why she sees a large student Jewish society as problematic, or why she spoke in defence of Palestinian terrorist groups which espouse the most antisemitic ideology imaginable.

In her article, Bouattia blames the entire controversy on other people misunderstanding her, offers to reword her offensive statements instead of admitting their offensive nature and ignores some of the most important concerns altogether. But this brazen self-justification pales besides her most brazen act of all: in defending herself, she decided to smear her critics as being motivated by her gender and racial and religious background. Others in the new cohort of union officers have claimed the same. When Jews and non-Jews alike call you an antisemite, is it not doubly antisemitic to ignore their concerns whilst counterclaiming sexism, Islamophobia and racism?

The outgoing Presidents of the National Union of Students and the Union of Jewish Students have urged their supporters to “fight for what you believe in” from within the National Union of Students, and not to talk of disaffiliating. But when the National Union of Students is in the vice-like grip of activists who unabashedly tolerate antisemitism and defend terrorism, it is not surprising that many prominent students’ unions are proposing motions to disaffiliate.

The National Union of Students is supposed to represent and unify students. This week it has done the opposite.

Posters have been found at Edinburgh and Glasgow universities claiming that the Holocaust was a “robbery” and a “fraud” used by Jews to create a “Holocaust industry”. According to this line of thinking, the Holocaust was greatly exaggerated or entirely fabricated by Jews so that they could make financial gains, for example from war reparations.

A student at the University of Edinburgh found a poster pinned to a noticeboard, then a student at the University of Glasgow made a similar discovery.

The posters have been widely condemned and the students’ unions, universities and Police Scotland are investigating. We are following their cases with interest.

Today, the National Union of Students has plumbed a new low, electing as its President a candidate who has been prominently revealed in recent weeks as having extremely troubling views about Jews. Malia Bouattia has called Birmingham University a “Zionist outpost in higher education” because it has “the largest Jsoc [Jewish student society] in the country.” She has railed against “Zionist-led media outlets”, defended Palestinian terrorism as “resistance” and voted against condemning ISIS.

Shortly before her election, the National Union of Students Conference debated whether to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, with fierce applause for the students who argued against joining in with the national memorial for the genocide which wiped out more than one third of the world’s Jewish population. Though the Conference voted to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day in the end, it was abundantly clear that those opposing the move had the backing of a very large number of delegates.

The National Union of Students has positioned itself as a fierce opponent of racism, with a ‘no platform’ policy which prevents racists from speaking. However today, the new President of the union is someone whose actions contravene the definition of antisemitism adopted as policy by the union.

Today Campaign Against Antisemitism calls on Malia Bouattia to retract her comments; condemn Hamas, Hezbollah and ISIS (all of which espouse the most extreme antisemitic ideology possible); and endorse the definition of antisemitism used by the union, including antisemitism which masquerades as political discourse about Israel.

Please add your name to our petition.

Following a speech to students at the University of Kent in which journalist Amira Hass reportedly claimed that the “Elders of Zion” planned “colonial” hegemony over Palestinians, the Head of the Office of the Vice Chancellor has told Campaign Against Antisemitism that no action will be taken.

“Elders of Zion” is a phrase used absolutely exclusively in the context of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, the antisemitic fabrication first published in 1903 which alleges the existence of a Jewish conspiracy to further the interests of Jewish people to the detriment of mankind, and forms the basis for many antisemitic conspiracy myths. Neither the organisers nor attendees appear to have spoken out.

Hass is quoted by blogger David Colier as saying: “And I ask myself did the Elders of Zion really sit together at the beginning of the seventies and then during the nineties, and plan, and have all these military orders, all these changes?” The remark was allegedly made on 28th January at a conference entitled “Israel and the Palestinians: Colonialism and Prospects for Justice” which was a joint event by University of Kent and SOAS.

Asked to clarify the University’s position and what action will now be taken to prevent the use of further antisemitic rhetoric at the University under the guise of political discourse about Israel, David Powell, Head of the Office of the Vice Chancellor confirmed to us that no action would be taken, writing:

“A debate may doubtless be had about the precise point that Ms Hass may have been making in her own presentation but we would note that she is a bona fide (and award winning) journalist working for a respected Israeli newspaper.”

Claiming that the “Elders of Zion” plotted the subjugation of Arabs is not free speech; it is hate speech.

Using that phrase is inexcusable, especially when the person using it is doing so advisedly to an audience of students, knowing the full connotations of her words, both as a Jew and as an “award-winning” journalist.

It is a disgrace that the University of Kent has decided that no action will be taken against the organisers, and that no change in policy is required to prevent antisemitic rhetoric disguised as political discourse in the future.

You may wish to contact the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills at [email protected] to ask what action will be taken to protect Jewish students. You may also wish to express your views to David Powell on 01227 826 596.

Campaign Against Antisemitism commends the Co-Chair of the Oxford University Labour Club, Alex Chalmers, for his principled decision to stand up against antisemitism amongst his fellow students. If only there were more people prepared to recognise antisemitism when they see it, and refuse to ignore it.

Chalmers decided to resign after the club voted to embrace “Israel Apartheid Week”. Chalmers wrote about his resignation in a hard-hitting Facebook post, saying: “Whether it be members of the Executive throwing around the term ‘Zio’ (a term for Jews usually confined to websites run by the Ku Klux Klan) with casual abandon, senior members of the club expressing their ‘solidarity’ with Hamas and explicitly defending their tactics of indiscriminately murdering civilians, or a former Co-Chair claiming that ‘most accusations of antisemitism are just the Zionists crying wolf’, a large proportion of both OULC and the student left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews. The decision of the club to endorse a movement with a history of targeting and harassing Jewish students and inviting antisemitic speakers to campuses, despite the concerns of Jewish students, illustrates how uneven and insincere much of the active membership is when it comes to liberation.”

Oxford University Labour Club is a member organisation of Labour Students, which said that they were “deeply troubled” and that they “unequivocally condemn any form of antisemitism”. Without offering any specifics, Labour Students promised to investigate and take action.

Since Chalmers announced his resignation, Oxford Jewish Society has published further allegations in a Facebook post of their own, shedding further light on the rampant antisemitism at the heart of the Labour Club.

According to Oxford Jewish Society:

  • Members of the Labour Club’s committee have been known to sing the song “Rockets over Tel Aviv” and have specifically expressed support for Hamas’ tactic of launching indiscriminate attacks against Israel’s Jewish citizens.
  • One Labour Club member stated specifically that it was “not antisemitic” to allege the existence of a “New York – Tel Aviv axis” that rigs elections, and said that “we should be aware of the influence wielded over elections by high net-worth Jewish individuals”. He also stated that it was “not antisemitic” to allege the existence of an international Jewish conspiracy, even though he did not endorse the idea himself.
  • One Labour Club committee member stated that all Jews should be expected to publicly denounce Zionism and the State of Israel, and that nobody should associate with any Jew who fails to do so.
  • Several individuals, some who have been on the Labour Club committee, repeatedly used the word “Zio” (a word normally only found on neo-Nazi websites) to refer to Jewish students.
  • Several Labour Club members have alleged that US foreign policy is under the control of the “Zionist Lobby” and when asked if by “Zionist” they simply meant “Jewish” they did not answer.
  • One member of the Labour Club was formally disciplined by their College for organising a group of students to harass a Jewish student and to shout “filthy Zionist” whenever they saw her.
  • In a public discussion on the Labour Club’s Facebook group, one member argued that Hamas was justified in its policy of killing Jewish civilians and claimed that all Jews were legitimate targets. Several other members, including two former Labour Club co-chairs and one then on committee, defended the member as making “a legitimate point clumsily expressed”.
  • Two Labour Club members argued that Jenny Tonge, a peer expelled from the Liberal Democrats over antisemitism, should be encouraged to join the Labour Party.

Jewish people should feel comfortable in any political party. Many of the pivotal figures in Labour have been Jewish, but we have also received increasing reports from Jewish Labour supporters who no longer feel welcome in their party.

It has been more than three months since Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn responded to an antisemitic outburst by Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman by voicing “deep concern” and assuring us that he was “implacably opposed to racism” before deciding to take no disciplinary action whatsoever against the MP.

We call for the Labour Party and Oxford University to investigate this matter fully and take the strongest possible action to demonstrate to Jewish students that antisemitism will not continue to be tolerated. Where the law has been broken, this matter must be referred to the police; these students are supposed to be amongst our nation’s brightest and cannot be excused.

https://twitter.com/JoeMiles94/status/699727568988196865

Israeli journalist Amira Hass has reportedly told students at the University of Kent that the “Elders of Zion” planned “colonial” hegemony over Palestinians. Blogger David Collier attended a conference entitled “Israel and the Palestinians: Colonialism and Prospects for Justice” which was a joint event by University of Kent and the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

Writing in his blog, Collier recalled: “I tried to make sense of what I was hearing. Hass was discussing a hidden agenda, a secret group of Jews, plotting and planning beyond the reach of Israeli democracy – by extension, this secret group were to blame for the ‘war crimes’, for the death of innocent Palestinian children. Hass was spinning tales of a Jewish cabal, of shady secretive control, of unworldly plots and sinister deeds. A road that leads to dead children. Hass was resurrecting a classic historic antisemitic blood libel in a British university.”

He then quotes Hass as saying: “And I ask myself did the Elders of Zion really sit together at the beginning of the seventies and then during the nineties, and plan, and have all these military orders, all these changes?”

The “Elders of Zion” refers to a fictitious Jewish cabal that supposedly controls world affairs to the detriment of mankind and forms the basis for most antisemitic conspiracy myths.

We have asked the University of Kent to make clear its position and take action to prevent the use of antisemitic rhetoric under the guise of political discourse about Israel.

A week after condemning a campus exhibition celebrating Palestinians who had stabbed Jews, the London School of Economics has published and then removed an antisemitic blog post.

The blog was published on the LSE website and claimed that, as a matter of religious belief, Jews consider non-Jews to be inferior to the extent that Jews are permitted to “exterminate” non-Jews.

One extract read:

Notions of ‘racial’ superiority are contained in Jewish scriptures and Rabbinical pronouncements have the effect of relegating ‘the other’ to a standard which is sub-human and, therefore, not deserving of the same considerations that are reserved for one’s ‘own kind’.

The blog post entitled “Delegitimising through Dehumanisation: Palestinian ‘human’ rights denied”, was written by Australian academic Dr Sandra Nasr and caused outrage on social media. Jonathan Hoffman contributed a post about the blog on Everyday Antisemitism which encouraged Everyday Antisemitism’s social media followers to write to the LSE’s Director.

Everyday Antisemitism is run by Campaign Against Antisemitism and allows anyone to register to post about their experiences of antisemitism.

LSE has now removed the offensive blog post but has not apologised, saying simply that “editorial guidelines were not followed” in the racist post they have now removed.

A report in today’s Herald reveals the fears of Jewish students at Scottish universities. Students have reportedly said that they were “hounded” for failing to attend lectures during Shabbat, and one student even told the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (ScoJeC): “I was told by my university that either I sit exams on Shabbat or I fail.” In another case, a Jewish student said that she no longer went to the business school or library and was worried about attending classes “due to fear of being harassed or attacked.”

In a letter voicing concerns about a new definition of academic freedom, which ScoJeC worried could make it even harder to protect Jewish students’ rights, ScoJeC wrote: “It is troubling that when the Jewish Student Chaplaincy Scotland has intervened with the support of ScoJeC to assist Jewish students who find themselves subject to abuse, our concerns have been dismissed by senior university staff who appear not to recognise that there have been failures.”

ScoJeC blamed much of the intimidation of Jewish students on the tenor of political discourse about Israel, writing: “We have evidence that the manner in which some academic and research staff have expressed views about the situation in the Middle East has contributed to both Jewish and Israeli students feeling compelled to deny or hide their Jewish identity at the very time in their lives when they should have the freedom to explore it. The issue is not that some academic and research staff hold views about the situation in the Middle East — that is their right. Nor is it simply that they have expressed those views in public — what concerns us greatly is the manner in which some staff have done so.”

Universities are supposed to be places of tolerance and respect, but for Jewish students across the UK university is often not the broadening experience that it should be. Any Jewish student who voices support for Israel, where half of the world’s Jews live, is liable to face a wall of extreme, unabating hatred, which is the opposite of what university should be. The victimisation of Jewish students in this way appears to allow more traditional forms of discrimination to flourish.

We encourage students to make use of laws against hate crime. Please contact us if you are unsatisfied with the way that a university or the police has handled your complaint. Victims of antisemitism can also raise awareness of the problem by posting their experiences on Everyday Antisemitism.