Britain’s top universities are becoming no-go zones for Jewish students because the administrations are unable to tackle anti-Semitism out of fear of “offending” their potential donors from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, the first ever higher education adjudicator said.
Speaking with the Telegraph, Baroness Deech, a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords, warned that anti-Semitism is so rife on campuses that some Jewish people are feeling threatened and unsafe.
Baroness Deech said: “Amongst Jewish students, there is gradually a feeling that there are certain universities that you should avoid.”
She added “Definitely SOAS, Manchester I think is now not so popular because of things have happened there, Southampton, Exeter and so on.”
She suggested the reason university administrations are reluctant to tackle anti-Semitism on campus is because “many universities are in receipt of or are chasing very large donations from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states” thus some maybe “are frightened of offending them”.
Her comments come after a series of events at top British universities that targeted Israel and Jewish people.
London-based SOAS – the School of Oriental and African Studies – is currently under investigation for an alleged anti-Semitic talk on campus organised by the Palestine Society, where the speaker described the creation of Israel as a “racist”, “fascist” endeavour, and compared the “cult” of Zionism to the Nazis.
Students at Exeter University, meanwhile, were photographed wearing T-shirts showing racist and anti-Semitic slogans and the university event. Some T-shirts said: “Don’t speak to me if you’re not white,” and, “The Holocaust was a good time.”
Earlier this year, the co-chair of the prominent Oxford Labour Club resigned to protest its members’ “problem with Jews” and supportive view of terrorist groups such as Hamas. This lead to an intervention by the Universities Minister Jo Johnson, who urged the university to investigate.
According to a dossier on anti-Semitism at Oxford seen by Baroness Deech, some Jewish students were called “Zios” and asked whether they agree that Auschwitz was a “cash cow”.
The universities denied the claims that their institutions are becoming unsafe for the Jewish people.