Antisemitism complaints double at London universities

Allegations of antisemitism incidents related to London’s universities have more than doubled, a report by the Community Security Trust (CST) reveals.

Across the UK, the CST received reports of 150 incidents across the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years.

Of those, a fifth were connected to London, including four involving Queen Mary, University of London.

A Queen Mary spokesperson said it had a “zero-tolerance approach to any form of racial bullying and harassment”.

The report found that antisemitism incidents related to the capital’s universities more than doubled compared with the previous two-year period, when 12 incidents were reported to the CST.

The figures follow a report which found the National Union of Students failed to sufficiently challenge antisemitism and hostility towards Jews.

The CST, a charity which aims to protect British Jews from antisemitism and related threats, said 30 incidents were related to 10 institutions in the capital:

  • 12 at University College London
  • 4 at Queen Mary University of London
  • 4 at Brunel University
  • 4 at London South Bank University
  • 2 at Royal Holloway
  • 1 at City University
  • 1 at Imperial College London
  • 1 at St George’s University of London
  • 1 at the University of the Arts London

Dave Rich, head of policy at the CST, said: “We recorded more antisemitic incidents related to university campuses in London than anywhere else, and that is partly because of the number of universities and number of students in London.”

One of the incidents cited in the report happened at Royal Holloway, University of London, in May 2021, when a poster of an Israeli flag with a swastika replacing the Star of David was placed on the entrance of a library on campus. Two arrests were made in connection with this incident.

In a statement to the BBC, a spokesperson for the university said it “abhors violence, discrimination, harassment, and antisemitism”.

The statement added: “In May 2021, we witnessed unacceptable behaviour on our campus and online with regards to antisemitism and immediately reported it to the police who took swift action and arrests were made.

“After the incident, staff met with members of the university’s Jewish Society to speak to them about the impact the incident had on them and specialist support was provided by our Wellbeing team.”


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