I strongly condemn the ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ campaign, which seeks to delegitimise and promote boycotts against the world’s only Jewish state. In the past, IAW events have led to Jewish students facing abuse and intimidation, which is totally unacceptable.
All universities and higher education institutions have a responsibility to provide a safe and inclusive environment, and have a responsibility to ensure students do not face discrimination, harassment, abuse or violence, including online. While free speech is vital to the independence and innovation that embodies British higher education, universities must investigate and swiftly address any antisemitic incidents that are reported.
Ministers are continuing to call on all higher education institutions to accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, which is a tool to help frontline services better understand and recognise instances of antisemitism. I believe this would send a clear message that antisemitic behaviour will not be tolerated and will be taken seriously by higher education providers.
More broadly, I am assured that the Government is committed to addressing antisemitism wherever it occurs, and I am encouraged that we are the first country to have formally adopted the IHRA working definition of antisemitism. In order to educate students on the importance of fighting antisemitism, ministers have also provided £500,000 in funding for 200 university students each year to visit Auschwitz, and over £144,000 for a programme to support universities in tackling antisemitism on campus, delivered by the Holocaust Education Trust, in partnership with the Union of Jewish Students.