UK gov’t set to appoint adviser to address university antisemitism

The government’s initiative includes introducing a ‘seal of quality’ for universities that demonstrate a commitment to combating antisemitism.

By Georgia L. Gilholy, JNS

Amid a surge in Jew-hatred in U.K. universities, the British government has announced plans to appoint an “expert adviser” on antisemitism in higher education.

Robert Halfon, the U.K. higher education minister, told the Telegraph about his deep concern over the threats facing Jewish students. “I am really worried that some universities are not safe for Jewish students,” he said.

The self-described “proud Jewish Member of Parliament” criticized universities for not taking proactive measures to address antisemitism and announced the creation of a new role to confront the issue.

The government’s initiative includes introducing a “seal of quality” for universities that demonstrate a commitment to combating antisemitism. This seal will be awarded only to institutions with robust procedures for handling complaints, staff trained in addressing antisemitism and adherence to high standards in dealing with such incidents.

Recent incidents, including death threats against a Jewish chaplain at Leeds University and antisemitic chants at the University of Birmingham, have underscored the urgent need for action.

The Community Security Trust reported a significant increase in antisemitic incidents since Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror attack in Israel, raising concerns about the safety of Jewish students.

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Halfon emphasized the severity of the situation. “That’s not acceptable,” he said, stressing the importance of university leaders taking proactive measures to address antisemitism on their campuses.