The Rise in Antisemitism in Schools: Working Towards a More Cohesive and Resilient UK

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The Rise in Antisemitism in Schools: Working Towards a More Cohesive and Resilient UK

28th February 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Antisemitism is on the rise around the globe. Last year, the UK was identified as particularly at risk, with a 78 per cent rise in recorded physical assaults against members of the Jewish community since 2020. In 2014, the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) report on government action on Antisemitism stated that concerns were raised about Antisemitic incidents in schools. One of the examples cited was children coming to school with ‘I hate Jews’ written in black ink across their knuckles. As a result The Henry Jackson Society sought to investigate how many incidents of Antisemitic behaviour have been recorded within British schools in the last five years and to propose how we can better safeguard both Jewish students and young people at risk of being drawn into Antisemitism.

The research involved an unprecedented large-scale investigation of public schools using Freedom of Information requests. The results were horrifying. Antisemitism had surged in schools during the 5 year period under review. 76 instances of Antisemitism were judged so serious that teachers reported them to police. Results also revealed that fewer than one in 20 schools have a policy to deal with Antisemitism, leaving us facing the question – how do we build more resilience to Antisemitism in UK schools?

Join the Henry Jackson Society and our expert panel of speakers for a discussion of the report’s findings, their ramifications, and how we can move forward with schools to help them better tackle antisemitism and build a more cohesive and tolerant future generation.

 

 

Charlotte Littlewood is a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. She is a PhD candidate in Arab and Islamic studies with the University of Exeter University. Her research focuses on minority within Muslim minority conflict in the UK, in particular the persecution of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the extent to which the UK is able to support this community.

Charlotte started her career as a Prevent practitioner on behalf of the UK government, going on to be a Counter-Extremism Coordinator for an East London Borough. From this Charlotte went on to found her own community interest company with the aim of countering extremism and promoting equality. She developed and took projects that focused on women’s rights and tackling domestic violence to the West Bank, Palestine. Alongside this she consulted for Muslims Against Antisemitism, working towards greater tolerance and cohesion between communities in the UK.

Charlotte has a LLB in Law and MA in Security and Strategy.

 

 

Dr Dave Rich is Director of Policy at the Community Security Trust, a charity that works to protect the UK Jewish community from antisemitism and terrorism, where he advises the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, football clubs, political parties and many others about how to tackle antisemitism. Dave is author of Everyday Hate: How antisemitism is built into our world – and how you can change it (Biteback, 2023); he is a research fellow at the London Centre for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Contemporary Antisemitism.

 

 

Devora Stoll is currently the Director for Strategic Partnerships at StandWithUs UK. Prior to her appointment for this educational charity, she completed the Teach First graduate scheme and has been teaching English in both public and private schools for 5 years. Devora has a BA degree in International Relations from Queen Mary University, a PGDE from UCL, and is also currently completing a Masters in Education and Leadership at UCL’s Institute of Education. Devora has been named in the ’30 under 30s’ list of individuals influencing Jewish life in Great Britain.

 

 

The Rt Hon Sir Gavin Williamson CBE is a senior Conservative party politician and former Cabinet minister who has worked closely with four Prime Ministers. A long-time ally of the Jewish community, Sir Gavin has frequently voiced his commitment to the Jewish people, both in Britain and across the world. As Secretary of State for Education, he continually fought for better protection for Jewish students and encouraged all universities to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism.

 

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EVENT SUMMARY

 

The Henry Jackson Society was pleased to host a panel on the rise of antisemitism in British Schools and the ways in which hate can be combatted in the classroom. David Rich opened with an analysis of contemporary antisemitism in the United Kingdom stating that antisemitism was an underlying current in all forms of extremism, and that a nexus of young people, social media, and conspiracy theories contributes to the worsening state of Jewish hate. Charlotte Littlewood then introduced the panel to her study demonstrating a dramatic increase in incidents of antisemitism in British schools which were generally ill equipped and unprepared to handle them. Littlewood proposed her standardized approach to tackling antisemitism, endorsed by Liz Truss and Lord Mann, involving a rigorous re-examination of bullying policies to account for the demographic make-up of a school, a more thorough system of differentiating antisemitic incidents from bullying, and a more in-depth Holocaust education policy, treating it as a present reality rather than a historical tragedy. Devora Stoll recounted her personal experiences with antisemitism as a primary school teacher, repeating that schools simply are not equipped or prepared to deal with bigotry and that hatred of Israel has become an acceptable way to vent antisemitism. The panel agreed that antisemitism has re-entered the mainstream, and that the suggestions made by Charlotte Littlewood and the adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism would be deeply helpful in reversing the trend.

 

 

 

Venue

Committee Room 15
House of Commons
London, SW1A 0AA United Kingdom
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Other

SPEAKER
Charlotte Littlewood, Dr Dave Rich, Devola Stoll, The Rt Hon Sir Gavin Williamson CBE

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