Jewish student and communal representatives have told new Universities Minister Sam Gyimah how Jewish and Israel-related events “are targeted” on campus.
Union of Jewish Students president Josh Holt and Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush discussed anti-Semitism, hate speech and the disruption of events at their Wednesday meeting with Gyimah, who took over from predecessor Jo Johnson MP two months ago.
Gyimah said it was “a productive meeting on free speech, no-platforming and antisemitism on campus,” adding: “I look forward to carrying on our conversation on these vital topics on the future.”
Arkush said there were “very serious issues affecting Jewish students on campus, in particular how Jewish and Israel-related events are often targeted by protesters and the issue of universities and student unions allowing hate speakers on site”.
Holt said: “We drew the Minister’s attention to the need for universities to adopt the robust International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.” The definition’s working examples have been used to persuade organisers of ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ that their activities are now anti-Semitic.
Holt also expressed “concerns regarding the recent protests at events hosting Israeli speakers,” saying: “We asked the government to provide universities with further guidance on the importance of upholding no platform policy for those that espouse hate speech or incite violence, in balance with the need to champion free speech and debate within the confines of the law.”
A really productive meeting with @JonathanArkush from @BoardofDeputies, Josh Holt, President of @UJS_UK & Joel from the @APPGBritishJews to discuss free-speech, no-platforming and anti-semitism on campus. pic.twitter.com/gIlL8Trrxz
— Sam Gyimah MP (@SamGyimah) March 14, 2018