'I don't feel that our universities are a safe place for British Jews,' university minister tells LBC

13 February 2024, 11:31 | Updated: 13 February 2024, 14:42

'I don't feel that our universities are a safe place for British Jews', says universities minister

By Ben Kentish and Kieran Kelly

University minister Robert Halfon has told LBC he does not feel universities are a safe space for British Jews.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Mr Halfon told LBC's Ben Kentish that he has received around 1,700 emails from "anxious" Jewish students following a rise in anti-Semitic incidents taking place on university campuses.

"I don't think, at this point in time, that our universities are a safe space for British Jews," Mr Halfon told LBC.

"It's a terrible thing to say in the 21st century - I'm from a Jewish background myself."

"We have Jewish students terrified."

LBC Views: 'This isn't what the honours system is for': Azhar Ali's OBE should be reviewed amid antisemitism scandal

University students stage a pro-Palestine protest
University students stage a pro-Palestine protest. Picture: Alamy

Before the attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7, there had been a 22 per cent increase in university-related anti-Semitic hate incidents between 2020 and 2022, according to research carried out by Community Security Trust (CST).

But the rate at which anti-Semitic incidents are occurring on university campuses has significantly accelerated since Israel was attacked and the subsequent war in Gaza.

Read More: Labour withdraws support for Rochdale by-election candidate after Israel conspiracy theory remarks

Read More: 'It was known yesterday' Azhar Ali had made more Israel conspiracy theory comments, peer tells LBC

As of December 2023, the CST recorded 1,890 antisemitic incidents across the UK, including 140 related to universities, since the October 7 attack.

There has also been a significant rise in Islamophobic incidents taking place on UK campuses. Just shy of 900 anti-Muslim incidents took place between the October 7 attacks and December 2023 on UK university campuses.

These have been specifically related to anti-Muslim language and behaviours, including praying, at universities.

Robert Halfon, Universities Minister
Robert Halfon, Universities Minister. Picture: Alamy

In the case of those being targeted with anti-Semitic comments, Mr Halfon told LBC that he had heard of cases where British Jews have moved out of campus accommodation due to fear.

"We have a Jewish chaplain and his family having to move off campus because of the actions of extremists," he told LBC.

Rabbi Zecharia Deutsch and his wife Nava, who serve universities in Yorkshire, including Leeds, have gone into hiding in response to a campaign to oust him from his position over his IDF service during the Israel-Hamas war.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is helped off the stage at a campaign event in Butler, Pa., on Saturday, July 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Several pops and a fist in the air: Donald Trump's assassination attempt minute-by-minute

What will following the shooting of Donald Trump?

Donald Trump shot during campaign rally: Jon Sopel explains what it means for the US Presidential race

The nation is gripped by Euros fever

England expects! Nation gripped by Euros fever as fans prepare for historic final against Spain

Donald Trump has been shot through the ear at a rally in Pennsylvania - as one bystander was killed and two others were critically injured.

Pictured: Shocking scenes as gunman shoots Donald Trump during rally leaving one bystander dead

Liz Truss has reacted to her party's terrible election results

Liz Truss blames Tory election drubbing on Rishi Sunak ‘trashing her record’ before pointing finger at Tony Blair

Joe Biden reacts to the assassination attempt of Donald Trump

‘Everyone must condemn it’: Joe Biden labels Donald Trump assassination attempt ‘sick’ as world leaders react

Donald Trump was shot at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania yesterday

Gunman behind Donald Trump’s assassination attempt is 20-year-old Republican supporter, FBI reveals

Donald Trump's ear was grazed in a shooting at a campaign rally yesterday

‘Much bleeding took place’: Donald Trump releases new statement after being shot at campaign rally

President Trump was shot at a rally in Pennsylvania

Donald Trump carried off stage by Secret Service after shooting at campaign rally

American XL bully

Police raid suspected XL Bully farm and arrest man as 13 dogs seized inside house with children

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer has told the England team that they have "made the country proud" before their crunch Euros final against Spain on Sunday.

'Bring it home': Keir Starmer sends message to England team ahead of showpiece Euros final against Spain

spanhoe airfield near corby main runway

Pilot killed in plane crash at former RAF airfield near Corby as police urge witnesses to come forward

A child is dead and five people have been injured after a house fire in East Ham, London.

Child dead after deadly blaze that injured five which gutted east London home and needed 40 firefighters to tackle

Daniel Halliday went missing while playing in the water with his brother on June 30.

Body found in the sea confirmed to be 14-year-old Daniel Halliday who was swept away in River Mersey on June 30

A Scottish council has come under fire for handing almost 2,000 penalties in the first 11 days of its low emission zone

Scottish council under fire after handing out 2,000 fines in first 11 days of new low emission zone

Graziano Di Prima has broken his silence

Strictly Come Dancing pro Graziano Di Prima breaks silence after being 'sacked' following misconduct claims