The Rise of anti-Semitism

Recent reports have shown an increasing wave of anti-Semitism, including 1,309 incidents during 2016, according to the Community Security Trust. Even more worrying is the rise of anti-Semitic rhetoric within our ‘seats of learning’, like the protest by 40 ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’ who blocked the door to a venue in Trinity College Dublin where the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland, Ze’ev Boker, was due to speak. In another example, Bristol University is reported to be investigating claims of anti-Semitism after a lecturer said that Jews should stop “privileging” the Holocaust.

Anti-Semitic GraffitiExample of anti-Semitic graffiti

At our recent Lobby Day in Parliament, Baroness Deech expressed deep concerns that some of our universities were becoming ‘no go areas’ for Jewish students, and that this has become worse over the last ten years. She said it was vital that a definition of anti-Semitism like the one offered by Eric Pickles recently should be adopted to make things simpler for universities. We were horrified to hear that most, if not all, universities were holding Israel Apartheid Week events each year, which is illegal in her opinion as well as in ours – there is a great need for prayer.

It must be said though, that many of our universities do hold events to commemorate the Holocaust each year.  We must encourage these events and commend their organisers for standing up for tolerance and standing against anti-Jewish bias.

Let’s ask the Lord how we can pray effectively about these issues:

  • Pray for all members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons to be informed and challenged about anti-Semitism and Muslim extremism in the UK – especially in our colleges and universities.
  • Pray for the Lord to expose and deal with, in his own way, any anti-Semitism within our governments, councils and educational departments.
  • Pray for all the Jewish students who are able to study at this level to be safe and able to courageously raise any concerns for themselves with their authorities.
  • Pray for those involved in Holocaust Memorial Day preparations each year in universities.  The foremost reason for holding such events, when originally established by Tony Blair, was to remember the Jewish Holocaust, so it would never be repeated.
  • Pray for good, balanced Media coverage of these concerns, across social media too, and that young Christians and CFI supporters will engage in conversations to help fellow students gain greater understanding and concern about this increase in anti-Semitism. Pray that they would encourage them to look into the Hebraic roots of the Bible and the debt of gratitude we owe to the Jewish people for the Bibles we use, and indeed for our Jewish Saviour. 

Julia Soakell 
February 2017