Nearly 100 universities have now adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Nearly 100 universities have now adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism

The rise comes after universities were warned that they could have their funding cut if they refused to adopt the IHRA definition.

Activists outside a meeting of the Labour National Executive Committee in London which is expected to decide on whether to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism and its examples, which has been the subject of a bitter row within the party over recent months.. Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Activists outside a meeting of the Labour National Executive Committee in London which is expected to decide on whether to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism and its examples, which has been the subject of a bitter row within the party over recent months.. Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Nearly 100 universities have now adopted an internationally recognised definition of antisemitism following pressure from ministers, figures suggest.

The number of colleges, universities and other higher education providers who have signed up to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism has surged over the past year.

A total of 216 higher education institutions in England, which includes 95 universities, have signed up, an Office for Students (OfS) report shows.

Only 28 universities had confirmed they had adopted the definition in September last year, according to research by the Union of Jewish Students.

The rise comes after universities were warned that they could have their funding cut if they refused to adopt the internationally recognised definition.

In October last year, Gavin Williamson, then education secretary, said the number of universities which had signed up was “shamefully low”, adding that institutions were “letting down” their Jewish students.

The higher education watchdog has said it will consider “further action” if universities do not take action to meet expectations for preventing and tackling harassment during this academic year.

Chris Millward, director for fair access and participation at the OfS, said: “This new evidence demonstrates that there has been a rapid increase in the number of universities and colleges adopting the definition.

“This is welcome and is testament to the excellent campaigning work by groups of Jewish students, which has led more universities and colleges to acknowledge the importance of the definition and the benefits of using it in practice.

“The OfS published a statement of expectations for preventing and tackling harassment earlier this year, and we are clear that we will consider further action if universities do not take the steps necessary to meet these expectations during the current academic year.

“Signing up to the IHRA working definition is one of the ways universities and colleges can tackle antisemitism.

“It is essential that universities and colleges act swiftly and decisively in response to any acts of antisemitism, so that students are safe, and feel safe, on campus.”

Michelle Donelan

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said: “It is encouraging to see so many universities take up the IHRA definition in the past year, but there is more work to do to end the scourge of antisemitism on our campuses and I will continue to work with university leaders to demand action and urge progress.”

She added: “The horrors of the Holocaust are a stark reminder that we must do all we can to root out antisemitism wherever we find it.

“That requires a common understanding of what antisemitism is and the forms it takes in modern society.

“Adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism makes a public commitment to tackling this insidious form of racism in helping to identify antisemitic conduct, and I have been working across the higher education sector to promote its adoption.”

In May, Robert Jenrick, who was communities secretary at the time, vowed to “name and shame” universities which refuse to sign up to the IHRA definition.

Universities UK (UUK) published a briefing in June which included practical examples of how the IHRA definition could be a useful tool to help universities tackle antisemitism on campuses.

Ex Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick with members of the Union of Jewish Students in January

A spokesperson for UUK said: “We support and encourage universities to do all they can to tackle antisemitism, which is as unacceptable on campus as it is in any walk of life.

“This includes considering adoption of the IHRA definition, whilst also recognising their duty to promote freedom of speech within the law.”

Nina Freedman, president of the Union of Jewish Students (UJS), said: “Since the launch of our campaign in 2019, UJS and Jewish students have been campaigning tirelessly for universities to adopt this definition.

“It is great to see this significant increase and we look forward to working with the institutions which are not yet on our list.

“Adopting the IHRA definition is the first step in combating antisemitism on campus and ensuring Jewish students are supported and confident in reporting antisemitism.”

 

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments