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October 10, 2019

Motion passes calling on National Education Union to adopt IHRA antisemitism definition

A motion calling for the National Education Union to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism has been passed by the NEU’s Brent Committee.
John Lopez, the NEU’s representative at JFS, which is itself in Brent, proposed the motion which called for the definition to be adopted by the education union at its national conference in April.
It is a part of a wider campaign by Jewish teachers and their allies to combat the anti-Israel policy traditionally accepted by the NEU's predecessors – the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the ATL, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers which merged to form the NEU in 2017.
In April, the NEU voted to affiliate to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and to introduce a settlement boycott policy.
But last week Brent NEU Committee successfully argued that adopting the IHRA definition provided clarity to ensure that the debate within the union about Israel and Palestine does not spill over into antisemitism.
The motion stated: "Conference notes that the NEU deplores all forms of racism including antisemitism (anti-Jewish racism) and Islamophobia.
“This includes incidents when criticism of Israel has been expressed using antisemitic tropes. Criticism of Israel can be legitimate, but not if it employs the tropes and imagery of antisemitism.
“Conference welcomes the government, European Commission and the Labour Party amongst other institutions, signing up to adopt the internationally recognised International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) …
“Conference commits to (instructs the Executive to) follow the example of the Government and Labour party by adopting the IHRA definition.”
Mr Lopez said he was “delighted” the was passed by the NEU Brent Committee at the meeting.
He added: "This will show our united determination to work with the NEU and its adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism in its entirety including examples as NEU policy.”
Simon Johnson, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, added: “We welcome the decision of the Brent branch of the NEU to adopt the IHRA definition.
"They have added their organisation to an ever growing list of civil society organisations and government bodies that have listened to the Jewish community and adopted a working definition designed to protect us all from modern manifestations of anti-Jewish racism.
"We hope that the NEU centrally will listen to many of their Jewish members and also adopt the definition.”
Board of Deputies Vice President Amanda Bowman said:” This will help to provide the consistency and clarity that teachers and staff in the education sector need when assessing what is or is not antisemitic. It is our hope that other NEU branches will now follow suit.”
Source: thejc