Race hate laws should be used to crack down on extremist groups whose activities are prompting a rise in anti-Semitism at Britain’s universities, vice-chancellors are to be warned by ministers today.
Ministers are particularly concerned about the infiltration of campuses by Islamic extremist groups who have stirred up hatred against Israel. Vice-chancellors will be warned they must not ignore anti-Jewish activity on campuses and must prevent prejudiced lecturers, guest speakers and extremist political organisations stirring up hatred of Israel.
Phil Woolas, the communities minister, who will announce the Government’s measures, said the findings of the all-party parliamentary report on anti-Semitism were “very worrying”, adding: “Our response will be far tougher than anticipated. We are very worried about Islamic anti-Semitism on campuses. In this country we tend to see it as something of the past. It is not.”
The report by the all-party anti-Semitism group said that Jewish students felt “isolated and unsupported,” and that pro-Palestine debates were being used as a “vehicle for anti-Jewish language”.
Of course, cracking down on genuine racism is admirable, but defining anti-semitism according to criteria determined by the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism (pdf of their report here), who characterise MPACUK as an “extremist” group based on evidence provided by the likes of Lorna Fitzsimons and the Community Security Trust, is something else entirely.
And, if Woolas is really interested in combating racism, how about a crackdown on the appalling Islamophobia promoted by a section of the Jewish community? The sort of bigotry demonstrated by Melanie Phillips, for example, in mainstream publications like the Daily Mail and Jewish Chronicle has no parallel within the Muslim community outside of the tiniest and most sectarian Islamist groups.