Birmingham Uni agrees to adopt IHRA definition of antisemitism

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Birmingham Uni agrees to adopt IHRA definition of antisemitism

Home to one of the UKs largest Jewish student society, the university said it was 'a fantastic step forward into ensuring we are supporting our Jewish students'

Tali is a reporter at Jewish News

University of Birmingham (Wikipedia/ Source	University of Birmingham - Aston Webb
Author: Stephen Boisvert / Attribution :2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))
University of Birmingham (Wikipedia/ Source University of Birmingham - Aston Webb Author: Stephen Boisvert / Attribution :2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))

The University of Birmingham has agreed to adopt the internationally accepted definition of antisemitism following calls from Jewish students and the university’s guild.

Home to one of the largest Jewish society in the United Kingdom, Birmingham University’s Guild of Students had already adopted the international holocaust remembrance alliance definition of antisemitism in June.

The group’s education office, Amanda Sefton, said that it was “a fantastic step forward into ensuring we are supporting our Jewish students”.

The Union of Jewish Students, thanking the Guild of Students and Jewish staff at the university, said: “We are pleased that the University of Birmingham has adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

“The adoption of the IHRA definition will go a long way in ensuring Jewish students are safeguarded from antisemitism on their campus. We will continue our work in ensuring all Student Unions and Universities in the UK adopt this vital and comprehensive definition.”

Lord Mann, the government’s independent advisor on antisemitism, said: “This is the 18th of the 24 Russell Group Universities to adopt IHRA and I look forward to every University following this good example. It gives a clear message that Birmingham intends to be a safe place for Jewish students.”

The news comes after David Feldman, director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at Birbeck, University of London, was published in the Guardian this morning, criticising the IHRA definition.

In an article titled, “The government should not impose a faulty definition of antisemitism on universities”, the academic attacked Education Secretary Gavin Williamson for his warning that universities could face action if they had not adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism by the end of the year.

Claiming it would place “academic freedom and free speech on campus at risk”, Mr Feldman called threats by the Secretary of State that the Office for Students, the higher education regulator for England, could potentially be asked to suspend “funding streams” if universities failed to adopt the definition of anti-Jewish racism by the end of December, Feldman branded it “strategically ill-considered”.

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