Students at University College London have voted overwhelmingly against adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism, in a move criticised by Jewish students.
The motion was debated at UCL on Monday night, with Jewish students voicing support for the IHRA definition, which has been widely adopted by local councils, political parties, prosecutors and the National Union of Students.
Students voted by 212 to 78 not to adopt the IHRA definition, with many voicing concerns that it could limit free speech, but Jewish students were left disappointed and angry that the result could allow antisemitism on campus.
Speaking after the event, the University’s Jewish Society president Oli Kingslet said Jewish student voices were “quashed in their attempt to codify antisemitism and make campus a safer and more secure place for Jews”.
In a joint statement with the Union of Jewish Students, the Society later said: “It is a sorry state of affairs that the all-student meeting at UCL Students Union has voted against the IHRA definition.
“With the highest levels of recorded antisemitic incidents in the UK in the last two years, narrow-minded and dogmatic activists are more concerned with protecting their ability to spew hatred than protect minority students on their campus.”
They added: “It is arrogant and hypocritical that these students think they know better than Jewish students and hundreds of genuine anti-racists.”