Antisemitism on campus negligible

University of Warwick: Google Street view

JVL Introduction

In this Times of Israel/Jews News Blog, Derek Taylor looks at the latest antisemitism-on-campus figures reported by the Community Security Trust.

He shows the vast extent to which antisemitism is simply not the issue it is constructed to be.

Four universities – Bristol, Warwick, UCL and Oxford – ratcheted up 41 incidents, while the remaining 160 institutions managed less than half an incident each.

It’s not that those incidents which occur don’t matter – of course they do – but for the Times the headline was “antisemitism on campus at record levels” rather than the more mundane headline that would reflect the reality better: “antisemitism on campus negligible”.

This article was originally published by Times of Israel/Jewish News on Sat 20 Nov 2021. Read the original here.

Antisemitism on campus negligible

The Times has reported the data they have received from the Community Security Trust on antisemitic incidents at British universities.

The largest number of antisemitic incidents last year at a British University was 11 at Bristol and Warwick. Bristol has 22,278 students, so 99.95% of them were not involved. Warwick has 23,570 students, so another 99.95% weren’t involved either. There were 10 incidents at UCL, with 41,539 students, so 99.75% of the students were guiltless. There were 9 at Oxford with 23,975 students, so 99.96% weren’t involved. One Jewish student was assaulted at Birmingham; one too many, but you can’t blame well over 99% of the students.

There are 164 universities and higher education institutions in Britain. There were a total of 111 antisemitic incidents. Take out  and 160 institutions managed 70 incidents; that’s less than half an incident per institution in a year.

Yet the Times headline was “antisemitism on campus at record levels. “ Well, it sells newspapers and “antisemitism on campus negligible” doesn’t.

64 out of the 111 incidents took place during the fighting over Gaza. The Israelis emphasised the 3,000 rockets fired at Israel during the short conflict and Hamas the casualties from Israeli bombing. You can’t expect Palestinians to be unaffected by the situation in Gaza. We weren’t, even though neither community in this country can have any influence on what goes on at the other end of the Mediterranean.

Many people have set views which are not affected by the facts. When the figures are produced, their insufficiency is excused by our being told of a mass of antisemitism which is not reported. Yet if I tell you that the Flat Earth Society is a potential danger because its membership is increasing by about 200 a year, you won’t believe me for a moment.

Yes, there is one. It was created by Samuel Shenton in 1956 and refounded by Daniel Shenton – no relation – in 2017.  It has about 500+ members. The society members simply believe that the earth is flat. Accuse them of antisemitism – there is absolutely no evidence they are – and you can try a headline “Flat Earth Society reported (or alleged) to support Bristol and Warwick antisemitic students.”

There isn’t the slightest evidence that this is the case, but words like “reported”  are very useful if you want to cloud the issue.

Those wishing to make an argument can go to extremes. The Israelis are accused of genocide. What is genocide? The OED says it is “the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group.”

It is tragic that lives are lost in the Israel/Gaza conflict but where is the evidence that the Israelis are deliberately killing Palestinians with the aim of destroying the whole group? There are 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza. There were 248 deaths in Gaza in the latest conflict. Without the Patriot defence system, that number of Israelis – or more – might well have been killed by the 3,000 rockets. We’re not discussing the rights and wrongs of the conflict. We’re examining the existence of a policy of genocide and there isn’t one.

The problem is that people are taken in by scare headlines.

Derek Taylor     Derek is an author & former editor of the Jewish Year Book

Comments (10)

  • Jonathan Rosenhead says:

    Even these low figures are an exaggeration. The numbers reported seem to be
    complaints, not antisemitic ‘incidents’. At one of the universities mentioned the number of incidents reported is the same as the known number of complaints – all of which were found to be without merit.

  • Jill Azzouzi says:

    I dont think genocide is an extreme view of what israel have done to the Palestinians. We only have to look at the massacres in Lydd Ramallah Deir Yassin. Only recently a politician said that they have the Palestinian problem because David Ben-Gurion did not finish the job.
    Its also skewed by what is classed as antisemitism. You say there was a spike when israel attacked Gaza. So was this hatred of Jews as Jews which is antisemitism or was it hatred of israeli behaviour????

  • Stephen Richards says:

    Genocide can take time…..poco a poco. Any criticism of Israel & there’s another complaint.

  • Nick Jenkins says:

    “ There isn’t the slightest evidence that this is the case, but words like “reported” are very useful if you want to cloud the issue.”

    Which is, of course, exactly what happened in the Labour Party: a small number of people flooded the party with hundreds of complaints, most of them baseless (baseless because they didn’t actually involve antisemitism or because the people complained of weren’t even party members).
    But it didn’t matter that they were baseless because the whole point was that those enemies of the party were able to say: “Look how many complaints there have been… see how antisemitic the party must be.”

  • Allan Howard says:

    I just checked out The Times article, and just four sentences/paragraphs in it says the following:

    The news follows a demonstration last Tuesday by students at the London School of Economics, when threats of violence were issued to the Israeli ambassador.

    Issued?! There were no threats of violence ‘issued’ by ANYONE at the demo of course and, needless to say (given the police presence), had anyone done so, they would have been arrested (and no doubt charged). Anyway, at the end of the article it has several ‘Related articles’, one of which is headlined ‘Israeli envoy Tzipi Hotovely mobbed by LSE students after debate’, and the very first thing in the article was a short video clip of Hotovely being escorted out of the building to the waiting car, and all you actually see is one student rushing forward. And THAT’s it!

    Yes, she was ‘mobbed’ by one student! And no doubt much of the rest of the MSM ‘reported’ the episode in similar, totally fraudulent and dishonest terms/rhetoric, and between them duped and deceived millions of people – their readers and viewers and listeners – ALL of whom in effect pay – one way or another – the wages of the people who concoct and contrive and dissemble the falsehoods AND dupe and deceive them, as such.

  • Richard Kuper says:

    I have my reservations about the Community Security Trust, but compare the hysterical report in the Times with the measured comment from the CST here:

  • Allan Howard says:

    And the very next day – ie two days after the demo – the Mail published the following piece on its website (which I assume was also in their hard copy newspaper) – which they no doubt spent all night concocting and contriving! – so as to reinforce in their readers minds that these students are INDEED antisemitic Jew-hating thugs. Yes, even the Jewish students who were present at the demo! Here’s the headline AND *five* sub-headlines:

    ‘Pro-Palestine protestors ‘followed students home calling them war criminals’ after barracking Israeli ambassador at LSE event’

    Pro-Palestine thugs accused of hunting down leaders of LSESU Debate Society
    They allegedly followed them after they held a talk with Tzipi Hotovely Tuesday
    A bystander revealed last night how the gang trailed after the event organisers
    They are believed to have threatened them, saying: ‘I will f*** you up p****holes’
    It comes after the group of brazen demonstrators claimed they were the victims

    I did a search at the time, and it appears that none of the rest of the MSM reported it, OR the three Jewish newspapers. I wonder why not!!

    It’s actually quite a lengthy piece, and further down the page there’s several ‘side pieces’, one of which – surprisingly – is entitled ‘Religious right-winger Tzipi Hotovley supports expanding Israeli settlements on West Bank and opposes Jewish-Muslim marriage’. And a bit further down from where that finishes, there’s a twenty second video clip of the demonstrators chanting (with the caption ‘Large crowds protest outside LSE…..’. And then further down the page – yet again somewhat surprisingly – they include the official statement made by the ‘LSE For Palestine’. And then just under that, there’s another ‘side piece’ entitled ‘How LSE became hotbed for Left-wing activism: From its founding fathers to current students, the London university always had ties with radicalism’.

    And if you scroll down to the Comments section at the end of the piece, well would you believe it, there’s just ONE comment! And underneath the comment it says ‘We are no longer accepting comments on this article.’ You will also notice that it says ‘The comments below have been moderated in advance’, which I believe is quite unusual for the Mail to do, but then maybe there were an abundance of posters calling out the main theme of the article for the total B/S it was! AND posted the only comment that suited their purpose!!

  • Allan Howard says:

    Apologies (for yet another post), but I just came across this excellent Opinion piece by Tony Greenstein on Al Jazeera’s website, posted on December 7, 2019 (here’s the headline and sub-headline):

    Is Jeremy Corbyn a ‘threat’ to British Jews?

    Corbyn’s opponents cannot defeat his political programme so they attack his character with spurious allegations.

  • Kuhnberg says:

    Anyone with the least experience of student politics will know that most of these complaints/incidents have no real substance. The same is true of the reported incidents involving local branches of the Labour Party. The media exaggerates, and more importantly distorts, the significance of such incidents because that is the narrative dictated by their bosses, initially as a club to beat Corbyn with, more recently in order to continue the war on the left with a view to silencing left-wing voices of dissent for good.

    To say this, of course, is to trigger one of the many traps laid down by those responsible for the narrative, in this instance the claim that it repeats an antisemitic meme about the global influence of some mythical cabal of powerful Jews. By means such as this accusations of antisemitism are weaponised to shut down debate, particularly debate about the actions of Israel. Public discussion of this issue was difficult enough in the past, but since the near ubiquitous acceptance of the IHRA definition of antisemitism, it has become virtually impossible to criticise Israel without being labelled an antisemite.

    In a piece headed ‘British Jews’ fear and defiance amid record monthly anti-Semitism reports’, the BBC website tells us that in the month before 8th May, 460 incidents were reported to the Jewish Community Trust – the highest monthly total since records began in 1984 – with 316 happening offline and 144 online. Reading beyond those alarming figures, we learn that Dave Rich, CST’s head of policy, says 416 of the 460 incidents “used language or some other evidence’ related to Israel.” It is obviously too much to expect that the CST should provide further analysis of the 416 cases involving mention of Israel to determine what proportion of them involve hatred of Jews as Jews as district from anger at the actions of apartheid Israel. Apart from anything else, such an analysis might undermine the message of the BBC’s headline.

  • Paul Smith says:

    What was the outcome of the incident in north London some months ago when two men driving in an area known for its Jewish population were accused of antiSemitic behaviour and arrested?

Comments are now closed.