ANTI-Semitism on British university campuses is well known and documented. Hatred against Jews is the only form of racism which, shamefully, is perfectly acceptable and actively encouraged, we warned in 2019. It was evident then that a perfect storm was brewing.
October 7 this year triggered it. Warnings from government ministers to the university vice chancellors have come too late, it seems. First the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) reported pleas for help from students who no longer feel comfortable about openly expressing their Judaism on campus. Now this appears to have escalated, and they are reporting feeling ‘deeply anxious’. Edward Isaac, their president, says the current spike of anti-Semitism is like nothing the group has seen before.
Apart from the inherent wrongness of this, it raises a further question. How difficult is it in the university environment for any student, Jewish or otherwise, to declare their support for Israel? Can they dare go against the trend? The good news is that some have. In the wake of this rising anti-Semitism, ten student Conservative societies at universities including Oxford and Cambridge have put their heads above the parapet and issued a joint declaration of support for Israel and the global Jewish community.
In it, they unequivocally denounce Hamas terrorism and affirm their unwavering support for Israel’s inherent right to defend itself and to protect its citizens. Some of the students from the societies that signed the letter visited Kfar Aza kibbutz this summer, one of the towns where the deadliest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust took place.
The statement follows:
‘WE the undersigned are members of student Conservative associations from across the United Kingdom that represent thousands of young people. We stand with Israel against the horrific actions taken by Hamas terrorists against innocent Israeli citizens, we also stand unwaveringly with the global Jewish community during this dark time of rising anti-Semitism.
‘We are horrified at the murder, rape and kidnapping of innocent Israeli civilians. These atrocities are reminiscent of the worst abominations in recent history, including the Holocaust, and is a form of unadulterated evil. Hamas terrorists have murdered 1,400 Israelis, including women, children and Holocaust survivors.
‘Alongside this, 199 innocent people with citizenships of at least 42 different countries have been kidnapped, including at least ten British nationals. It has been deeply shameful watching some individuals across the country tearing down missing person posters bearing their names and faces, and such terror apologism is not befitting of our free society.
‘We unequivocally condemn Hamas terror and stand firmly with Israel in its inherent right to defend itself and ensure the safety of its citizens, as is the responsibility of all states to do.
‘It is true, and deeply sad, that innocent Palestinians will die in Gaza and elsewhere as Israel takes steps to remove Hamas from power. These deaths are an inarguable tragedy, but they are a tragedy caused by the terrorists who chose to launch this senseless and barbaric attack on Israel.
‘The presence of Hamas in the region only serves to deepen suffering, for both Israelis and Palestinians alike. A peaceful solution that secures self-determination and prosperity for both peoples is essential; this is clearly no longer an option whilst Hamas are at the helm in Gaza.
‘Therefore, we implore our government to employ all available diplomatic means to support Israel in its efforts to destroy Hamas’s operational ability and secure the release of the hostages. We also support the government’s efforts to ensure innocent Palestinians do not pay the price for Hamas barbarism by the announcement of £10million in humanitarian aid for the Palestinian territories.
‘We firmly believe that the values we hold dear – freedom, democracy, human rights and respect for international law – should be safeguarded and upheld. Let us stand united in steadfast support for Israel and its allies as it rids the world of Hamas terror. Let us work toward a safer and more peaceful world for all.
‘History will judge us very unkindly if we should fail in our promise of “Never Again” at one of Israel’s greatest hours of need.’
· Oxford University Conservative Association
· Cambridge University Conservative Association
· Glasgow University Conservative and Unionist Association
· Nottingham University Conservative Association
· Prospective Winchester University Conservative Association
· Bristol University Conservative Association
· King’s College London Conservative Association
· Manchester Young Conservatives
· Cardiff University Conservative and Unionist Association (CUCUA)
· University College London Conservative Society
The letter was compiled by The Pinsker Centre. challenges of the State of Israel. We actively promote academic engagement and freedom of speech, and seek to combat intolerance of both peoples and ideas.