With Gaza encampments spreading from the US to the UK, British Jewish student union demands protection

The Union of Jewish Students in the UK issues a statement lamenting the anti-Israel encampments that have sprung up on campuses throughout the country, similar to ones seen in the US.

USJ says the demonstrations are creating a “hostile and toxic atmosphere.”

Jewish students are angry, tired and hurt by “the continuous torrent of antisemitic hatred on campus” since October 7, USJ says.

“While students have a right to protest, these encampments create a hostile and toxic atmosphere on campus for Jewish students.”

“Let us be clear. We will not stand for this hatred. It’s time that universities took their duty of care to Jewish students seriously.”

The protesters “seek to replicate scenes of hatred from US campuses, with protesters already having called to ‘globalize the intifada’ to support the Houthis in Yemen and to not ‘engage with Zionists,’” the UJS warns.

“We have always been clear that Jewish students must feel safe on campuses,” UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman says in response. “While our universities rightfully pride themselves on their openness and tolerance and diversity, it is obviously absolutely clear that any antisemitism shouldn’t be tolerated.”

“While we firmly believe in the power of rigorous free speech and debate, the right to that does not include the right to harass others or incite others to violence or terrorism,” Sunak’s spokesperson adds.

UK Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has urged university vice-chancellors to crack down on antisemitic abuse on university campuses.

“We’ve always been clear that people have a right to peaceful and lawful protest but clearly people shouldn’t abuse that right to intimidate others, cause unnecessary disruption. Obviously, the police already have extensive public order powers to tackle disorder at protests and will continue to have our full support in doing so if needed,” the premier’s office says.

Most Popular