Anti-Semitic comments by students shamed in report
ANTI-SEMITIC comments made on a University of Manchester students’ Facebook group have been highlighted in a Jewish charity’s annual report.
The Community Security Trust said the comments were among several allegations of anti-Semitism from students and academics raised in 2018.
The trust, which works to protect the Jewish community, highlighted the comments in its annual AntiSemitic Discourse Report.
The report, which covers activity in 2018, looked at allegations of institutional anti-Semitism within the Labour Party and other political parties, university campuses, on social media and in football.
A number of anti-Semitic messages were sent by students in a Manchester University Facebook group chat, according to the report.
“The messages started when one student asked whether the other students would rather become an engineer or ‘become a neo-Nazi,’” the report reads.
“The student followed it up with the comment ‘don’t be a Jew.’ Another student then commented ‘six million is not enough’ and ‘six million Jews ain’t enough.’
“Another student in the group objected, posting ‘could you stop with the nazism maybe now?.’
“This led to an argument between the students posting the AntiSemitic comments and the student who had objected. There was a total of approximately 200 students in the group chat.”
At the time, the University of Manchester issued a statement warning that: “The university is a welcoming environment and we will not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment.
“Allegations of this nature are thoroughly investigated and if appropriate, disciplinary action will be taken.”
The university’s Jewish Society also condemned the messages at the time, stating: “We expect a robust and transparent investigation into this incident from the relevant faculty, who we call on to denounce this incident in the strongest possible terms.
“It is incumbent of all members of the student body to tackle anti-Semitism wherever it arises.”
Other incidents highlighted in the report include allegations within the Labour Party, as well as stories about anti-Semitic insults or comments involving celebrities or public figures.
It also highlights Labour losses in traditional Jewish communities during the 2018 local elections. Labour lost Kersal ward in Salford, which has the largest proportion of Jewish residents of any ward in the country.
They also lost Pilkington Park ward in Bury, where 24 per cent of the population is Jewish, but held Sedgley ward where 33 per cent of the population is Jewish.
Labour’s shadow communities spokesman, Andrew Gwynne MP, said after the elections: “It’s my job to help rebuild that trust with the Jewish community.”
The report states that anti-Semitism played ‘an unprecedented role’ in British public life in 2018.