New chair of equalities watchdog is against call for unis to adopt IHRA
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

New chair of equalities watchdog is against call for unis to adopt IHRA

Baroness Falkner said the international definition is 'extremely poorly worded and probably unactionable in law' while it 'directly conflicts with the duty to protect free speech'

Baroness Falkner
Baroness Falkner

The new chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission has said that she is against the call for universities to sign up to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.

Speaking in a personal capacity during a House of Lords debate around antisemitism on campus, Baroness Falkner said: “I am afraid that I do not support the call for an IHRA definition.”

She said it was “extremely poorly worded and probably unactionable in law,” adding that it “directly conflicts with the duty on universities to protect free speech”.

Falkner also said: “There is a further danger in this. When universities adopt this definition, the pressure on them increases also to adopt the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia’s extremely badly worded definition of Islamophobia.

“The end route, if we go down this road, is that there is no space left where students may learn to disagree with each other respectfully.”

She was taking part in a debate in which Jewish peers including Baroness Deech, Baroness Ludford, Baroness Altmann, Lord Polak, and Lord Mendelsohn took part, many urging universities to adopt the IHRA definition. To date, less than half have.

Deech said adopting IHRA “has the effect of concentrating minds on its expression as well as its definition”, while Lord Pickles, the UK head of delegation to IHRA who persuaded the Prime Minister to adopt the definition, said arguments that the definition hindered free speech were “malicious”.

He added: “If academics cannot find a way to criticise the Israeli Government without having to resort to antisemitic tropes, it speaks volumes to both their paucity of language and their real motivation.”

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 News also 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