Britain’s chief rabbi has said Jewish students face a “wall of anti-Zionism” and Jew-hatred on college campuses and called on university administrators to take action to stem what he called a rising tide of anti-Semitism.
Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said history should’ve taught Britain to be aware of the dangers of allowing Jewish students to be victimized at universities.
“We have seen what Jew hatred can be a template for in history. What troubles me is that the Zionist-bashing on campus has gone unchallenged,” Mirvis said in an interview with the Sunday Times of London.
The chief rabbi said the climate of hatred on campuses was affecting the academic reputation of British universities — and suggested that freedom of speech should not be used as a crutch to defend anti-Semitic abuse.
“To (administrators) I would say: see what is happening under your noses, what is happening to the reputations of your universities. Freedom of speech needs to take place in a healthy and appropriate context. I cannot imagine that any (administrator) should be proud of the fact that vilification of a people has been taking place on their campus.”
Britain is grappling with a highly public spate of anti-Semitism.
Several Labour Party officials have been suspended or placed under investigation for virulent anti-Israel attacks which many Jewish leaders feel constitute anti-Semitism.
Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone was bounced from the party after he said Adolf Hitler was a “Zionist” who wanted to expel Jews to then-Palestine. When asked to elaborate the comments, Livingstone called the founding of Israel a “catastrophe.”
The newly-minted head of the National Union of Students, Malia Bouattia, is a fierce critic of Israel and has suggested that boycotting the Jewish state may not go far enough. She has vigorously denied being anti-Semitic.