Special Reports

Jewish Students Deny Anti-Semitism In U.K. Universities


Jewish student union has denied anti-Semitism in universities in the U.K. This comes after Ruth Deech, Britain's first higher education adjudicator, claimed that some students are avoiding some institutions because of anti-Semitism.

The Guardian reported that the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) dismissed Deech's claim. The group clarified that the adjudicator's claim did not reflect what the majority of students experienced. They did acknowledge that there has been a recent rise of high-profile anti-Semitic events, though.

The union said that it is important to be aware of the worrying spate in anti-Semitism in campuses in the U.K. They expressed their gratitude to Baroness Deech for shedding light on the issue.

However, they explained that the adjudicator's comments did a "disservice to the thousands who are able to freely express their Jewish identities in whichever way they choose." According to Telegraph, Deech has said that universities may be failing to address the prejudice against Jews since they may be scared of offending potential benefactors from Gulf states.

This came after some Jewish students from top universities claimed that they were verbally abused or even physically attacked. Speaking to the publication, Deech noted that the levels of hostility towards Jews at universities throughout the nation can actually equate to anti-Semitism.

Deech was a senior proctor at Oxford University and principal of St. Anne's College. She is now a crossbench peer after being U.K.'s first higher education adjudicator from 2004 to 2008.

BBC added that Universities UK, representing the sector, has explained that higher education should not be tainted with unlawful discrimination. The UJS also noted that universities in the U.K. have a lot of active and open Jewish student populations.

The group represents about 8,500 Jewish students. Moreover, they clarified that they are not discouraging Jewish students to apply at a certain university for anti-Semitism.

Jewish groups at Manchester and Oxford, both of which were mentioned by Deech, did express their concern about racism on British campuses. The institutions denied, though, that they were no-go zones for students.

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