The student union at University of York in the United Kingdom will pay £1,000 ($1,370) in compensation and issue a public apology to a York law student who experienced anti-Semitic abuse.
“The experience has been so depressing,” Zachary Confino, 21, told The Sunday Times. “It ruined my experience at university. I can never get that time back.”
The compensation for Confino is reportedly the first time a British university has ever made a payment of this kind. A university spokesman said the “token payment” and apology came as a result of mediation between Confino and the student union.
“The university is committed to preserving the right to freedom of expression while also combating anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and any other form of race hate. To this end, we have signed joint statements with both the Jewish Society and the Islamic Society on campus. We welcome students from all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities in our diverse community,” the spokesman said.
The nature of the abuse or the perpetrators’ identity was not disclosed.
Former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams intervened in the Confino matter by writing to UK Minister of State for Universities and Science Jo Johnson about his concerns over the British government’s “muted” response to complaints of rising anti-Semitism at British universities.
Williams also wrote to Confino, calling anti-Semitism “one of the most ancient and poisonous” forms of hate speech.
“It (anti-Semitism) is truly appalling stuff, but sadly seems not to be that unusual at the moment,” Williams wrote.
High Volume of Anti-Semitic Incidents in the UK
A report on anti-Semitic incidents recorded in 2015 in the United Kingdom reveals that despite government efforts to combat the phenomenon, the volume of incidents remains alarmingly high.
The Community Security Trust (CST) of British Jewry recorded 924 anti-Semitic incidents in 2015, the third-highest annual total ever recorded.
The Jewish community watchdog said it was likely that there was significant under-reporting of anti-Semitic incidents to both the CST and to police, and that the number of anti-Semitic incidents that took place is significantly higher than the number recorded in this report.
There were 86 violent anti-Semitic assaults reported to CST in 2015, an increase of six per cent from the 81 anti-Semitic assaults recorded in 2014 and the highest number since 2011, when CST recorded 95 violent attacks.
The most common single type of anti-Semitic incident in 2015 involved verbal abuse directed at random Jewish people in public.
By: JNS.org and United with Israel Staff
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