Sunday, October 2, 2022

Increasing anti-Semitism in British schools in this regard: Head of Education

There has been a “worrying” increase in anti-Semitic incidents in British schools since the latest Israeli-Palestinian conflict broke out, British Education Minister Gavin Williamson warned.

The increasing focus on the conflict in some schools has in some cases led to the expression of anti-Semitic views and bullying of Jewish students and teachers, Williamson said in a message sent to schools in England on Friday.

He said schools should treat these incidents with the necessary seriousness, and urged head teachers to ensure a political impartiality over the conflict.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson will attend a cabinet meeting of senior government ministers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 1 September 2020 (Toby Melville – WPA Pool / Getty Images)

Many young people have a ‘strong personal interest’ in the issues surrounding the conflict and in some cases it has led to ‘political activity’ by older pupils, he wrote.

‘Schools must ensure that political expression is carried out sensitively by senior pupils, in order to avoid disruption for other pupils and staff.

“It is unacceptable that some students create an atmosphere of intimidation or fear of other students and teachers.”

Williamson reminded the heads of their ‘legal duties regarding political impartiality’.

“School leaders and staff are responsible for ensuring that they act appropriately, especially in the political views they express.”

Pupils should be offered a “balanced presentation of conflicting views” when raising political issues, he said.

“Schools should not present material in a politically biased or one-sided manner and should always avoid working with organizations that promote anti-Semitic or discriminatory views.”

They should not work with or use materials from organizations that publicly reject Israel’s right to exist, he added.

London Jews
Jewish men walk down the street in the Stamford Hill area of ​​north London on January 19, 2011 (Oli Scarff / Getty Images)

British ministers say there has been an increase in anti-Semitic abuse since the latest conflict in the Middle East flared up earlier this month.

In one incident, a rabbi sustained head injuries after being attacked by two men near his synagogue in Chigwell in north London on Sunday afternoon.

Two suspects – Brahimi (25) and Souraka Djabouri (18) – were charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, robbery and religiously serious criminal damage.

In another incident, a video posted on Twitter on May 16, showed cars moving in a street with Palestinian flags on it. Slogans such as “[expletive] the Jews, [expletive] their mothers, [expletive] their daughters ”and“ rape their daughters ”were heard through a loudspeaker.

The Met tracked down one of the cars and four men were arrested on the grounds of racially aggravating public order violations, but thereafter released on bail.

The incidents have been condemned by politicians across the political spectrum.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain would at any stage proclaim anti-Semitic behavior and not allow it to take root, grow and promote.

Lily Zhou and PA contributed to this report.


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