Universities and Antisemitism

Thank you for contacting me about Israel Apartheid Week campaigns and antisemitism on campus.

The Government is committed to addressing antisemitism and I am encouraged that the UK became the first country to formally adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.

Ministers will continue to call on all higher education institutions to accept the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, which is a tool to help front-line services better understand and recognise instances of antisemitism.

All universities and higher education institutions have a responsibility to provide a safe and inclusive environment and have a responsibility to ensure students do not face discrimination, harassment, abuse or violence.  Universities are expected to have robust policies and procedures in place to comply with the law, and to investigate and swiftly address any hate crime and anti-Semitic incidents that are reported.

Progress has been made in implementing the recommendations of the Universities UK Taskforce which considered how harassment, hate crime and religious intolerance can be combatted on campus.  This has been supported by £4.7 million of investment in 119 projects by the Office for Students and its predecessor.  These projects are addressing online harassment, hate crime and religious intolerance.

The Government has also provided over £144,000 for a programme to support universities in tackling antisemitism on campus, delivered by the Holocaust Education Trust, in partnership with the Union of Jewish Students.  An additional £500,000 of government funding will be provided to allow 200 university students each year to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, to hear from the last Holocaust survivors and to help educate students on the importance of continuing to tackle antisemitism on campuses.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.