Sunak urges end to ‘harassment and antisemitic abuse’ in UK campus encampments

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street to go to the House of Commons for his weekly Prime Minister's Questions in London, May 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street to go to the House of Commons for his weekly Prime Minister's Questions in London, May 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is calling for an end to “antisemitic abuse” at UK universities as anti-Israel protests against the war on Hamas in Gaza expand and the government tries to head off the type of unrest seen on American campuses in recent weeks.

The comments come as Sunak and his education secretary prepare to meet with university leaders today at the prime minister’s offices in Downing Street.

“A vocal minority on our campuses are disrupting the lives and studies of their fellow students and, in some cases, propagating outright harassment and antisemitic abuse,” Sunak says in a statement. “This has to stop.”

Anti-Israel protesters have begun building encampments at universities around the UK over the past two weeks as students and academics call on the institutions to cut ties with Israel over its offensive in the Gaza Strip.

About a dozen encampments have been built at universities including Oxford and Cambridge in recent days.

The number of antisemitic incidents on UK university campuses tripled last year as tensions rose over the war, according to the Communities Security Trust, which works to combat antisemitism in Britain.

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