In the month of the centenary of the Balfour declaration, Lancaster University Student’s Union has strongly condemned reports of anti-Semitic graffiti in the form of Nazi symbolism on campus. In their statement, the Union labelled these incidents as “unacceptable” and have said that the university will not tolerate any forms of bigotry directed towards the Jewish community.
The news comes mere months after city councillors agreed to adopt and adhere to a plan to combat such intolerance. In April, a motion to implement the plan was unanimously voted for, which follows the nationally recognised working definition of anti-Semitism provided by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
While it is unclear when and why these cases originated, November sees the centenary anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, in which the British government called for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. This marked the beginning of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is still am extremely controversial and charged subject one hundred years later.
The recent appearance of posters appearing around campus in recent weeks titled “Balfour, May and the ‘Wrong Kind of Jews’” advertising a public address by Robert Cohen in Lancaster. Set to take place on the 15th November at the Cornerstone, the phrasing of the posters have been branded “inflammatory” by students.
Joshua Woolf, President of the Union, has issued a statement regarding these claims.
“Lancaster University has recently been investigating some allegations of anti-Semitic graffiti on our campus and in order to show our support for Jewish students and staff who form an important part of our University community, the Students’ Union and the University are proud to endorse the statement, which is available on our website.
Any students who feel that they are being discriminated against because of their faith, or any other reason, deserve to know that we are here to support them and will stand up against hate in all its forms.
Whilst no new evidence has been brought to my attention, the University is looking into the allegations and I have been working with the Jewish Society and members of the local Jewish community to reassure those affected that, if found to be true, this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated to continue.
If you are a victim of anti-Semitism or any other form of hate crime, please report it through your students’ union, your college, your department, or the Base. In an emergency, call the university security office on 01524 594541 or 999 from any campus landline.”
The University will welcome a community cohesion specialist next year after securing funds of £37,000 from the Higher Education Funding Council to help students identify hate crime and to promote tolerance in and around campus.
The joint statement from the Union and the University can be found on the Student’s Union website.