OPINION - The Standard View: Anti-Jewish hatred has no place on university campuses

Rishi Sunak meets vice chancellors from leading universities and representatives from the Union of Jewish Students in Downing Street (PA Wire)
Rishi Sunak meets vice chancellors from leading universities and representatives from the Union of Jewish Students in Downing Street (PA Wire)

As so often, what starts in the United States swiftly makes its way to Britain. In recent weeks, a wave of pro-Palestinian student encampments have sprung up across the UK, and London is no exception.

The right to protest is not only a fundamental one, it is also a rite of passage for students. There is a long and proud history of young people using their platform to take a stand against injustice. But protests that spill over into violence, or prevent students from accessing their studies, are not peaceful. And they are not acceptable when they become safe spaces for hate speech and calls for violence.

It is a curious phenomenon. Students today vigorously promote ideas of inclusion and safety, yet that concept and protection is all too often not extended to Jews when they face harassment and intimidation on campus, where being visibly Jewish can be chillingly considered “antagonistic”.

Anguish at the bloodshed in Gaza, demands for a ceasefire or supporting the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for statehood are not antisemitic. But chants and slogans that call for the eradication of Israel, dismiss the horrors of October 7 or direct hate against British Jews have no place on our campuses or anywhere else.

Boost cash for the Met

The Metropolitan Police is “not fit to serve Londoners effectively”. Not a quote from the Baroness Casey report or the view of victims’ charities, but the words of Scotland Yard itself. In a blunt assessment, the Met has warned it cannot recruit enough officers to meet present or future demand, noting that it began the year 1,000 officers below target and expects to end 2024 nearly 1,500 short.

Funding and wages are, inevitably, a major factor. Police constables have a starting salary of £36,775 and the higher cost of living in the capital makes recruitment more difficult. The number of applications for job roles is only about 30 per cent of the level required. No one doubts the Met must undergo urgent reform. But it also needs the appropriate level of funding to ensure it has the numbers — and experienced officers — to complete that job and deliver the level of policing Londoners deserve.

A just reward

Tristan Kirk, the Standard’s indefatigable courts correspondent, has been nominated for the 2024 Paul Foot Award for Campaigning and Investigative Journalism. It follows his investigation into the Single Justice Procedure, the secretive court process which allows magistrates to hand out convictions with reduced scrutiny, often with unjust results. His reporting has not only raised awareness, but led Justice Secretary Alex Chalk to promise changes. A well-deserved recognition of public interest journalism.