By Beds SU
Friday, 8 December 2023
With that concern, there have also been increases in both antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents in communities across the UK: the Met Police reported more incidents in October alone than in the previous five years.
Here at Beds SU we want all students to feel welcome, accepted, supported and safe in an inclusive student community. To that end, it’s vital that instances of prejudice and abuse are reported and any victims supported.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism reports that 80% of British Jews feel that recent political events have resulted in increased hostility toward Jews. Beds SU adopts the working definition of antisemitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA):
“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
Anyone can experience antisemitism, either as a Jewish person or someone who is witness to antisemitic behaviour.
Should you observe or experience antisemitism there are a number of support routes Beds SU encourages students to consider:
• You could reach out to us at your students’ union so we can support you and/or those involved and help navigate any formal procedures should you wish to engage with them.
• Antisemitism is a crime under UK law and is categorised as a “hate crime” – visit stophateuk.org to report it.
Jews across the UK are currently marking Hanukkah, an 8-day ‘festival of lights’, which involves the lighting of candles and is traditionally a celebration of their faith.
Hanukkah this year is surely to be a pronounced period of reflection for Jewish students: the October 7th attacks killed over 1,300 people, with evidence of brutality and sexual violence perpetrated, and an estimated 240 hostages taken.
The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) provide a voice for Jewish students in the UK and Ireland and their President has suggested Hanukkah will be "more pertinent than ever before" as Jewish communities express their support for those who continue to be held hostage by Hamas.
Students may find the following organisations helpful avenues of support and information:
• Beds SU Advice Service, for personal support
• The Community Security Trust (CST), a charity that protects British Jews from antisemitism and related threats