UCL academics delay vote on rescinding IHRA definition of antisemitism
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

UCL academics delay vote on rescinding IHRA definition of antisemitism

Academic Board of University College London reschedules vote on international definition 'to allow proper debate'

A ballot of academics at a top London university that was expected to reverse a decision to adopt a new definition of antisemitism has been delayed until the new year.

The Academic Board of University College London (UCL) had been due to vote on whether to rescind the 2019 adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, but at the last minute it was rescheduled for January “to allow proper debate”.

In November 2019, UCL’s Council adopted the definition with the support of the Provost and the University’s Jewish Society, but a working group has since said it stifles free speech on Israel.

University authorities said even if the Academic Board were to vote to rescind the adoption of the definition, the decision still lies with the UCL Council, which is chaired by Hong Kong businessman Victor Chu.

If there is a U-turn, it will be the first instance of a university reversing its adoption, but Jewish student representatives said it may not be the last, with similar moves underway across the city at King’s College London.

For the past year, a UCL working group on racism and prejudice has been examining the consistency or otherwise of the IHRA definition with academic freedom at UCL.

In its recently submitted 150-page report, a copy of which has been seen by Jewish News, they say the definition is “not fit for purpose in a university setting and has no legal basis for enforcement”.

Despite this, the same academics report “disquieting evidence that antisemitic insults towards Jewish students… have occurred at UCL much more frequently than most of us had realised”. They said this was the case even “under the most restrictive definition of antisemitism”.

Yet the dons said there were already enough policies in place to combat antisemitism, and that the problem lay in “insufficient reporting” of antisemitic insults and “a lack of awareness of what antisemitism is and why it is a problem”.

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