British Queen celebrates


At a meeting convened at Downing Street to address campus antisemitism, Union of Jewish Students president Edward Isaacs delivered a poignant message, describing the past year as

unparalleled in its challenges for Jewish students.

Addressing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, university vice-chancellors, and government officials, Isaacs highlighted the significance of October 7th, a pivotal moment marked by the abduction of loved ones for some Jewish students and the onset of a concerning surge in campus antisemitism for all.

Isaacs underscored the alarming escalation of antisemitic incidents since October 7th, citing a nearly sixfold increase in occurrences, with heightened severity. He emphasized the distressing realities faced by Jewish students, including death threats, physical assaults, and damage to property.

Speaking in front of prominent figures including Sunak and Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, Isaacs underscored the moral imperative for university leaders to safeguard Jewish students from intimidation.

Highlighting the inundation of calls to the UJS welfare hotline since October 7th, Isaacs painted a troubling picture of fear pervading campus environments. He recounted conversations with Jewish students across multiple universities, revealing accounts of fear, isolation, and inadequate institutional responses to antisemitic incidents.

Isaacs outlined crucial strategies for universities and vice-chancellors to address the challenges faced by Jewish students, emphasizing the importance of effective communication and unequivocal condemnation of antisemitism at all levels of leadership.

Moreover, he stressed the role of education, citing UJS' antisemitism awareness training as instrumental in fostering allyship and combating antisemitism on campus.

While acknowledging the right to protest, Isaacs emphasized the need for clear boundaries and consequences for criminal behavior. He urged universities to deny access to external actors seeking to harass Jewish students and emphasized the importance of upholding the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

The meeting at Downing Street convened university leaders from prestigious institutions, including Russell Group universities, alongside representatives from Sussex, Goldsmiths, and Northumbria, reflecting a collective commitment to addressing the pressing issue of campus antisemitism. Photo by robertsharp, Wikimedia commons.