Oxford University adopts international definition of antisemitism

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Oxford University adopts international definition of antisemitism

Move comes after education secretary Gavin Williamson warned that institutions could face funding cuts if they refuse to back IHRA

Tali is a reporter at Jewish News

Oxford University
Oxford University

Oxford has become the latest university to adopt the international definition of antisemitism.

The IHRA definition was formally adopted by the university after Education Secretary Gavin Williamson warned that universities could face cuts if they refused to adopt the working definition of antisemitism before Christmas.

Samuel Benjamin, president of Oxford University Jsoc said: “Oxford University Jewish Society is pleased that the University has officially adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. In doing so, it joins the growing number of universities across the country in adopting a definition that is crucial in combatting prejudice and discrimination against Jews.

“This marks a milestone in the University’s efforts to combat antisemitism, and serves as a significant step in safeguarding Jews on campus. We look forward to working with the University to implement further provisions for its Jewish students.”

When asked previously whether the university would be adopting the IHRA, an Oxford spokesperson dismissed concerns, telling the Jewish Chronicle: “Harassment and discrimination of any kind, including harassment on racial or religious grounds, are totally unacceptable at Oxford University and we have strong policies in place to guard against them.”

While a Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford, Karma Nabulsi, signed an open letter in The Guardian this November, expressing concerns over the internationally accepted definition.


The Union of Jewish Students said: “We are delighted that the University of Oxford has joined the growing list of UK universities adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism. We want to thank Jewish students for their hard work, determination and for pressuring the university on this matter.


“Both the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge have taken this step to support their Jewish students. This should be an example to all other higher education institutes of the importance of adopting this definition.”


The adoption of the IHRA definition comes after a recent report by CST showed a rise in reported student antisemitism, in which the security organisation urged all universities to adopt the international definition of antisemitism.

Oxford University media office declined to comment.

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