H.E. Simon Walters
Britain’s Ambassador to Israel
2nd November 2023
Dear Ambassador Walters
At the outset, on behalf of IBCA, may I express our Association’s heartfelt appreciation for the support given to Israel by the British Government, headed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, at a time when Israel has experienced the barbaric murder of innocent men, women and children – it is much appreciated.
However it is with immense sadness that IBCA, whose membership includes many with close family in the UK, notes the unprecedented rise in antisemitism throughout Britain. That a massacre, carried out by Hamas, on a Jewish Festival Day should spark this reaction is deeply worrying. According to the UK’s Community Security Trust (CST) reports of antisemitic incidents have risen 581% this year compared to the same time last year.
Prior to my coming to live in Israel, I was privileged to head a number of organizations; the last position I held was that of being the chairperson of the Hillel Foundation whose main raison d’etra was supporting Jewish students on campus.
Yesterday I spoke with Edward Daniel UJS’s Communication and Public Relations’ Officer. He shared his deep concern today for Jewish students on campuses throughout the UK. He said that on October 8th (the day following the massacre in Israel’s South) UJS received over 100 calls from Jewish students expressing concerns, anxieties and reports of antisemitic incidents on their campuses; Jewish students have reported verbal abuse and intimidation and even death threats. In addition I have been privy to a series of motions (all carried) at Cambridge University, Oxford University and UCL (among others) where there is one sentence referring to the massacre of Israeli civilians within numerous pages of abuse against Israel in its fight against Hamas the terrorist organization responsible for the genocide of innocent civilians. The motions passed called for a “mass uprising” and “Intifada until victory”.
It is from universities that tomorrow’s leaders emerge. We in IBCA are deeply worried by the reality of the leadership that might emerge in Britain tomorrow if the current heightened level of antisemitism is not curbed.
Having been involved with IBCA for some 20 plus years this is the first time I have ever felt the necessity to express concern as to the safety and future for Jewish students in the UK.