UK government adviser recommends that schools educate about antisemitism

Schools in the UK should teach about antisemitism as part of a wider drive to tackle anti-Jewish hatred, a report from a government adviser says.

Lord John Mann, who is the UK’s antisemitism adviser, is urging ministers to work with social media companies to eradicate hatred online.

It comes after reports of antisemitic incidents reached a record high in the UK last year.

The government said they supported schools discussing antisemitism.

The Holocaust is a compulsory part of the curriculum in secondary schools but learning about modern antisemitism is not.

“It is not enough to teach about the Holocaust,” the report said, and urged ministers to guarantee funding for schools to teach about contemporary anti-Jewish hatred.

Efforts to promote a more diverse curriculum reflecting the legacy of colonialism must “recognise that all forms of racism should be addressed”, the report said.

It cited evidence suggesting that of more than 600 antisemitic incidents in the UK after a spate of Israeli-Palestinian violence in 2021, a quarter took place in schools and universities.

Lord Mann, a former Labour MP, was made the UK’s first independent adviser on antisemitism in 2019. His report, Anti-Jewish Hatred, was prompted by the rising reported incidents of anti-Jewish hate crimes in the UK.

He said social media had “led to an exponential increase in online hate and falsehoods reaching a mass audience of all ages with limited means of restriction or clarification”.

“The growing spread of antisemitism among young people should be a matter of deep concern to all of us, not least because it is often leading to hate crime and violence against members of the Jewish community, including schoolchildren.”

The report cites a survey of 1,315 secondary schools in England, carried out by the Henry Jackson Society think tank in July, which found antisemitic incidents recorded rose from 60 in 2017 to 164 in 2022.

The National Education Union, which represents teachers, backed the report’s call for all secondaries to be required to teach about contemporary antisemitism.

“Government should act on this recommendation, involving teachers in the work,” said Mary Bousted, the joint head of the union.

“But it must treat the fight against racism as indivisible. When ministers and MPs attack asylum seekers, they create a hospitable environment for xenophobia and actively obstruct the work of schools in teaching against race hate, including antisemitism.”

Lord Mann also said social media companies should be forced to identify users who promote hate crime anonymously.


Subscribe to the EJC newsletter

Get the EJC newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

browse by community