Jewish students have raised concerns about a series of anti-Israel events to be held on university campuses next month.
Israel Apartheid Week, which runs from 16 to 21 March, will see some 200 events on campuses around the world next month.
Students across the UK are expected to take part in events at the University of Bristol, King’s College London, University of Leeds, University of York and Lancaster University.
Organisers say the week – inspired this year by the theme “United Against Racism” – seeks to advocate for “Palestinian rights in the context of global struggles against racial oppression,” according to an article published on their website.
The week, they say, seeks to push back against Israel’s “far-right regime … a key partner of authoritarian and even genocidal regimes worldwide.”
Daniel Kosky, campaigns organiser at the Union of Jewish Students, said the week “can be a difficult time for Jewish students.”
“Too often anti-Zionism is used as a mask to cover underlying antisemitism. Year after year we see incidents such as ‘mock checkpoints’ and guest speakers who engage in antisemitism which intimidate and sometimes target Jewish students,” he said.
“Israel Apartheid Week is divisive and wrong, and those wanting to truly bring peace closer should invest their time into projects that bring Israelis and Palestinians together, rather than promoting one-sided boycotts which only exacerbates division,” he added.
A pro-Israel group is to urge members of the public to demand local MPs apply pressure on universities to adopt the IHRA definition as part of a campaign launching on 24 February.
Michael McCann, director of the Israel Britain Alliance, warned Israel Apartheid Week could fall foul of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism.
The internationally-adopted definition considers “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”
But examples of antisemitism accompanying the definition include efforts to deny “the Jewish people their right to self-determination” and applying double standards by expecting of Israel behaviour “not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”
McCann described Israel Apartheid Week as a “lie constructed by people who loathe the only Jewish state in the world” promoted on “taxpayer funded British university campuses.”
Israel Apartheid Week was approached for comment.