Anti-Semitic com­ments by stu­dents shamed in re­port

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By BETH ABBIT [email protected]

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.

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