Schools warned over ‘concerning’ rise in anti-Semitic incidents as Williamson urges teachers to remain ‘politically impartial’

  • Gavin Williamson has told schools to ensure ‘political impartiality’ over Israel
  • It follows ‘concerning’ increase in anti-Semitic incidents since the 11 day war 
  • Education Secretary said violence had increased focus on the conflict in schools
  • Last week Boris Johnson said anti-Semitism on Britain’s streets is ‘intolerable’ 
  • The UK’s top rabbi deemed the rise in the hate crime as ‘unprecedented’ 

Headteachers have been told by Gavin Williamson to ensure ‘political impartiality’ over the Israel-Palestinian conflict, following a ‘concerning’ increase in anti-Semitic incidents.

The Education Secretary said the recent violence had increased focus on the conflict in many schools, which in some cases had led to the expression of anti-Semitic views and bullying of Jewish students and teachers.

He added that schools should treat these incidents with ‘due seriousness’, following an 11-day conflict between Israel and Palestine which saw hundreds killed.

The Education Secretary said the recent violence had increased focus on the conflict in many schools, which in some cases had led to the expression of anti-Semitic views and bullying of Jewish students and teachers

Headteachers have been told by Gavin Williamson to ensure ‘political impartiality’ over the Israel-Palestinian conflict, following a ‘concerning’ increase in anti-Semitic incidents 

The Education Secretary said many young people had a ‘strong personal interest’ in the issues around the conflict and in some cases that had led to ‘political activity’ by older pupils.

‘Schools should ensure that political expression by senior pupils is conducted sensitively, avoiding disruption for other pupils and staff.

‘It is unacceptable to allow some pupils to create an atmosphere of intimidation or fear for other students and teachers.’

In a message sent as many schools in England broke up for half-term, Mr Williamson reminded heads of their ‘legal duties regarding political impartiality’.

‘School leaders and staff have a responsibility to ensure that they act appropriately, particularly in the political views they express.’

Pupils should be offered a ‘balanced presentation of opposing views’ when political issues are raised, he said.

‘Schools should not present materials in a politically biased or one-sided way and should always avoid working with organisations that promote anti-Semitic or discriminatory views.’

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

Pupils should be offered a ‘balanced presentation of opposing views’, he said. ‘Schools should not present materials in a politically biased or one-sided way and should always avoid working with organisations that promote anti-Semitic or discriminatory views’

Last week Boris Johnson said anti-Semitism on Britain’s streets is ‘intolerable’ and the message that it will not be accepted ‘needs to be heard clearly’ as the country’s top rabbi deemed the rise in the hate crime as ‘unprecedented’.

The Prime Minister met with Jewish leaders, including Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, in Downing Street following a rise in hate crime incidents following the reignition of the conflict in Israel and Gaza.

Mr Johnson promised the Government would support victims of anti-Semitism, and improve communication between religions as well as between ministers and religious communities. 

He said: ‘Whatever the situation is in the Middle East, there is no excuse for the importing of prejudice to the streets of our country, in any form.

‘The recent signs of anti-Semitism such as the assault of Rabbi Goodwin, the disgusting parade of vehicles chanting hate speech through the streets of London, is intolerable and I take deep, deep exception.’

Boris Johnson last week said anti-Semitism on Britain’s streets is ‘intolerable’ and the message that it will not be accepted ‘needs to be heard clearly’

It comes after Rabbi Rafi Goodwin was attacked near his synagogue in north London.

Separately, four men were arrested and bailed after passengers in a convoy of cars covered with Palestinian flags were heard to use offensive language and make threats against Jewish people in St John’s Wood on Sunday.

The Community Safety Trust, which gathers reports of anti-Semitic incidents, said there were 116 recorded in the 11-day period from May 8, compared to 19 in the 11 days before May 8, an increase of around six times.

Of the 116 reports, 34 were online abuse, 82 were offline and mainly verbal abuse, although four were violent.

Following the meeting at No 10, Mr Johnson said: ‘I condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms and I stand totally with our Jewish community.

‘This is something that has always been the way, and often goes unsaid, but I feel it needs to be heard clearly.

‘There is no place for anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom.

‘We must call it out, and be continuously vigilant and emphatic.’

Mr Mirvis thanked the PM for organising the meeting and said he was ‘worried about the increase in anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom’ calling the challenge ‘unprecedented’. 

 He added that ‘the community is determined to stop it in its tracks and are encouraged and grateful for the Government’s help’.

Source: Read Full Article