On 18th May 2021 the Bishop of Manchester asked a question about antisemitism on university campuses, following a spate of attacks targeting Jewish people.
The Lord Bishop of Manchester [V]: Is the Minister aware that the Union of Jewish Students has raised serious concerns that Jewish students and societies are now being targeted with really quite disgusting anti-Semitic abuse due to the conflict in the Middle East? Will he reassure Jewish students that the Government will clamp down on all forms of campus anti-Semitism and encourage all universities not just to adopt but to implement the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism?
On 11th February 2020 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a question he had tabled to Government on plans to tackle antisemitism. The response, his follow-up question and those of other Members is below:
Hate Crime: Anti-Semitism
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to address antisemitic hate crime.
Baroness Berridge (Con): My Lords, the Government are committed to combating all forms of antisemitism. Our cross-party working group ensures that we are alive to Jewish community concerns and can respond effectively, alongside the advice of the noble Lord, Lord Mann, as our independent adviser. We have spent nearly £860,000 this year on projects tackling religiously and racially motivated hatred, including almost £150,000 to tackle anti-Semitism online.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the noble Baroness for her Answer. According to the Community Security Trust, the number of anti-Semitic instances has risen for each of the past four years. It is a growing problem. We in the churches have been exploring with Jewish groups any role that we may have played in the past with any stereotyping. Recently, the entire College of Bishops of the Church of England signed up to the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. Education will be key. I am grateful for what the noble Baroness has said, but can she tell us not only about the funds but which projects and resources Her Majesty’s Government are making available so that we can address, through education, the stereotyping and the troping of Jewish people to address this scourge.
On 4th November 2019 Lord Leigh of Hurley asked the Government “how many universities in England have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism; and what steps they intend to take in respect of those which have not”. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I declare an interest as president of the Council of Christians and Jews, founded in the depths of the Second World War by Chief Rabbi Hertz and Archbishop William Temple. I applaud the noble Baroness’s long history of standing up for freedom of religion and belief. Like the noble Lord, the CCJ hears numerous reports of no-platforming, intimidation and lack of free speech. I fully accept that universities are autonomous, but will the Minister look for ways in which pressure can be applied to ensure that these standards are kept? Does she agree that mere exhortation is not really working?