Universities: Antisemitism

Department for Education written question – answered at on 24 May 2024.

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Photo of Lord Weir of Ballyholme Lord Weir of Ballyholme DUP

To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the scale of antisemitic activity and incidents currently being committed on university campuses.

Photo of Baroness Barran Baroness Barran The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education, Lords Spokesperson (Equalities)

According to the Community Security Trust, there was an increase of 203% in university-related antisemitic incidents in 2023, which rose from 60 in 2022 to 182 in 2023. Of these 182 incidents, 148, or 81%, occurred in the aftermath of 7 October, and 134, or 74%, overtly referred to Israel and events in the Middle East and included anti-Jewish content or targeting. The department continues to monitor the situation and to support higher education providers to manage incidents.

On 9 May 2024 the Secretary of State chaired a roundtable at 10 Downing Street with Vice-Chancellors from universities across the UK, joined by the Prime Minister and other Ministers. The discussion focused on tackling antisemitism in higher education (HE), including preventing an escalation of protest activity such as that seen in the United States in recent weeks.

On the same day the department announced the intention to provide £500,000 to the University Jewish Chaplaincy, enabling it to rapidly boost the vital support it offers to Jewish students on campus.

In his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced £7 million to tackle antisemitism in education. The cornerstone of this package for HE will be a new framework that will enable universities to demonstrate through their processes and practice a commitment to preventing and tackling antisemitic abuse.

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