Universities minister: Adopt IHRA or we will be forced into taking action

The Universities Minister has urged higher education institutions to adopt the international definition of antisemitism, threatening action if they do not.

Michelle Donelan told the education select committee on Tuesday: “I urge all universities to adopt it (the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition). If not, then we will have to be forced into taking action to ensure that they do”

This comes after a Union of Jewish Students report showed only one fifth of higher education institutions had adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism, with the vast majority “defying” calls to do so.

Taking questions from the committee’s chair Robert Halfon, who is jewish, when asked what measures the university minister would be prepared to take, Donelan said it was too early to specify.

“We are not seeing enough of these universities adopting this definition, and it is simply not good enough.”

It has got to the point that I am now looking at other measures that we can utilise to make it happen”, she said.

The Union of Jewish Students said: “We welcome this change of message from the Universities Minister. We have seen time after time universities are ignoring or refusing the requests by Jewish students and staff and the government to adopt the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism.

“We call on the government and universities to take effective action to ensure Jewish students are being protected by their universities. The adoption of the IHRA definition is the first step to ensure this protection.

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