Three more universities adopt IHRA definition of antisemitism

Three more UK universities have agreed to adopt the internationally accepted definition of antisemitism following pressures from Jewish student groups and the government’s independent adviser.

Lancaster University, Manchester Metropolitan, and Buckingham New University all confirmed that they have accepted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition over the past few days.

A statement released only one month ago by Lancaster University had claimed “no specific timetable” for the consideration of the definition was in place.

The statement sparked anger from the local Jewish Society, with campaigns officer Noah Katz complaining the University was not “doing enough” to “protect current and future students.”

But in a statement last Friday it was announced that the university’s council had agreed to adopt IHRA.

Professor Andy Schofield, Lancaster’s Vice-Chancellor, welcomed the decision, saying: “This is one important element of the university’s wider commitment to ensure that the university is fair and inclusive.

“We will be continuing to work with our partners in both Israel and Palestine to increase our awareness and understanding of the major issues that affect our diverse community.”

On Monday, Buckinghamshire New University became the latest university formally to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Braisby said: “Antisemitism is repugnant.

“It is a form of racism, has no place within society and will not be tolerated at our University. Our decision to adopt the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism demonstrates our commitment to be an inclusive community that welcomes and celebrates all of our members irrespective of their background or ethnicity. Adopting the IHRA definition is an important step in our ongoing work towards eradicating racism, harassment, discrimination and prejudice.”

The government’s antisemitism adviser Lord John Mann also confirmed on Monday that Manchester Metropolitan had become the latest university to adopt IHRA.

Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, wrote to vice-chancellors last month warning them he would act if “the overwhelming majority” of universities had not adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism by the end of the year.

The Secretary of State said the Office for Students, the higher education regulator for England, could be asked to take action including suspending “funding streams” if universities failed to adopt the definition of anti-Jewish racism by the end of December.

He added it was “frankly disturbing” that a recent survey by the Union of Jewish Students had shown that only 29 out of 133 universities had adopted the IHRA definition, and 80 said they had no current plans to do so.

The University of Cambridge has been among those to subsequently confirm they have adopted IHRA.

Source: thejc