UCL Hebrew & Jewish Studies


Letter of support for Jewish students

6 November 2023

photo of UCL main quad and blue sky

The below is a letter the Hebrew and Jewish Studies Department has written for all Jewish students at UCL. We also recognize that all students in HJS, regardless of background or affiliation, have been affected by the tensions on campus and the heightened security within our department.

We encourage anyone who wants to add their support by signing the letter as a Jewish member of staff or someone allied with the Jewish community, to please email the Jewish Society with the subject line, 'Letter of support for Jewish students'.

To our Jewish students:

We, like you, are shocked by the antisemitic intimidation and harassment that are being experienced at UCL.

Jews on campus have diverse opinions about the current crisis in Israel and Gaza. It is extraordinarily complex. We, along with many others, are struggling to make sense of it for many different reasons - personal, moral, religious, and political. But no cause can justify racist threats, abuse, and aggression. Some on campus have felt it acceptable to express what are plainly not political opinions but simply hatred of Jews. The Hebrew and Jewish Studies department should not require security guards. JSoc meetings should not require campus security. You should not have to avoid attending lectures or coming to campus because of threats to cause you physical or psychological harm. You should not feel the need to hide your Jewish identity. And yet, at this moment, many of us do.

We are dismayed that the binary narratives and historical ignorance that fuel antisemitic rage on the streets have found a home on our own campus of all places -- a university that prides itself on being the first in England to admit Jews alongside students of all races and religions. We cherish that legacy of tolerance and inclusion and echo the Provost's emphasis on the importance of disagreeing well.

We will continue to support you however we can. We will call out antisemitism for what it is, at the same time as we advocate for robust and critical debate. We stand together against anti-Jewish hatred -- as we do against racism in all its forms. We invite all UCL staff and students to join us in doing the same.

The Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies