British university (illustrative)
British university (illustrative) iStock

Figures released by a British government agency detail a substantial increase in UK universities adopting anti-Semitism guidelines as anti-Jewish harassment has doubled in the last two years.

The Office for Students (OfS) published data showing that 216 universities, colleges and other post-secondary institutions have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism, inews.co.uk reported.

The list contains 95 universities, which is a major increase over September 2020 findings from the Union of Jewish Students that found 28 universities making use of IHRA guidelines.

The British government had urged universities to adopt the definition in the wake of a major increase in anti-Semitism on university campuses, threatening to withhold funding from schools that did not tackle harassment of Jewish students.

Data released by the Community Security Trust (CST) revealed that campus incidents skyrocketed from 47 in 2018 to 123 in 2020.

“Signing up to the IHRA working definition is one of the ways universities and colleges can tackle anti-Semitism.,” Christ Millward, OfS director for fair access and participation, said in a statement.

He added: “It is essential that universities and colleges act swiftly and decisively in response to any acts of anti-Semitism, so that students are safe – and feel safe – on campus.”