In a letter sent yesterday to headteachers and school leaders across the country, the Education Secretary warned of “the concerning increase in antisemitic incidents in some schools” and expressed fears that senior students may create “an atmosphere of intimidation or fear for other students and teachers” with aggressive pro-Palestine rabble-rousing.
He also warns that increasing focus on the Israel-Palestine conflict “has led to an increase in antisemitic incidents, including the expression of antisemitic views and bullying towards Jewish students and teachers.”
“Where this does happen, we expect schools to deal with these incidents with all due seriousness” he warned.
Williamson also reminded the schools “of their legal duties regarding political impartiality”, warning leaders and staff that they “have a responsibility to ensure that they act appropriately, particularly in the political views they express. When political issues are brought to the attention of pupils, including by the activity and political expression of other pupils, where this comes to the attention of the school, schools should offer pupils a balanced presentation of opposing views.
“Schools should not present materials in a politically biased or one-sided way and should always avoid working with organisations that promote antisemitic or discriminatory views. Schools should be particularly wary of potential bias in resources which claim to present the conflict in a balanced manner. Schools should not work with or use materials from organisations that publicly reject Israel’s right to exist.”
The letter comes in the wake of rising antisemitic incidents in wider society, not just in Britain’s schools.
Recently a senior rabbi was brutally attacked outside a synagogue in Essex, having to be sent to hospital to deal with his injuries. Two men have since been arrested for the assault.
And underscoring the degree to which these thugs feel they can act with impunity, four men were arrested in recent weeks for their suspected involvement in a pro-Palestine convoy which featured a man on a megaphone calling for Jewish daughters to be raped.
“F**k all of them. F**k their mothers, f**k their daughters. Show your support for Palestine. Rape their daughters. We have to send a message” he said.
The four men, who carried out the convoy in the heart of Britain’s Jewish community in North London, had previously been arrested and bailed by Manchester police for suspected involvement in an attack on a lone Jewish man in a car in the early hours of the same day.