New Student Rights briefing details campus antisemitism

While isolated claims of antisemitism have long been made on UK campuses, the issue was recently brought to the forefront of the public debate by allegations made against members of the Oxford University Labour Club (OULC).

While the scale of these allegations was shocking, Student Rights has long argued that antisemitism is a serious problem which has various manifestations on campuses, and has called on universities to take action.

Today, we have released a new briefing, ‘Antisemitism on Campus’, which details a number of examples of such manifestations uncovered during our monitoring of student society events and social media since 2011.

The briefing documents how a number of speakers with a history of making antisemitic remarks or recycling antisemitic tropes have been given platforms on several UK campuses, as well as detailing incidents of verbal and physical abuse against Jewish students.

While these are serious issues that must be dealt with, the briefing also makes it clear that too often student society social media pages have been ungoverned areas where antisemitic abuse or conspiracies are freely shared.

The briefing documents a number of posts made on these pages that spread hatred or repeat antisemitic conspiracy theories which would likely not be tolerated were they repeated by a student or speaker at an event.

These include:

Posts complaining British politicians are “on the Jewish payroll”; that Jews control the majority of “western media”; and that Israel is “illegally harvesting organs”;

Videos titled ‘Jewish-Zionist Power in America’ and ‘CNN, Goldman Sachs & the Zio Matrix’, the latter created by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke;

A claim on the University of Glasgow Palestine Society that “the mainstream media is owned by rabid Zionists” and posts which referred to Israeli police officers as “filthy heartless pigs” who would soon “beg for ur [sic] life but no one will b [sic] spared among u [sic]”.

Posts on the University of Westminster Palestine Solidarity Campaign stating “the Zionist Israelis…are totally akin” to the Nazis and “I believe Zionist Israel is actually worse than the Nazis”.

The blurring of the boundaries between pro-Palestine activism and antisemitism inherent in many of these posts, and the claims made by students of a culture in which Jewish students who raise concerns are accused of ‘crying wolf’ is deeply concerning.

Until this changes, and universities take disciplinary action against those students and societies involved, we will continue to see antisemitism on our campuses.


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