British university rejects IHRA definition of anti-Semitism

Leeds University Union votes against motion calling on the British institution to fight anti-Semitism.

Ben Ariel,

Anti-Semitism in Europe
Anti-Semitism in Europe

The Leeds University Union has voted against a motion calling on the British institution to fight anti-Semitism, prompting a university-wide referendum on the subject, JTA reported on Tuesday.

The draft motion submitted by the Leeds University Jewish Society called for the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. The definition includes some examples of anti-Israel vitriol, but states that criticism of Israel that is comparable to criticism of any other country does not constitute anti-Semitism.

In the vote on Monday at a union policy forum, the motion came up two votes shy of the required number for adoption, though 10 representatives voted in favor and five against. A university-wide referendum is likely to fail.

Several countries in Europe have already adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, including Germany, Britain, Austria, Romania, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

In 2017, the European Parliament voted to adopt a resolution calling on member states and their institutions to apply the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

French President Emmanuel Macron recently announced he would have his country adopt the IHRA definition to combat the rising tide of anti-Semitism in his country.

Responding to Monday’s vote, the Leeds Jewish society is said on Twitter it is “incredibly disappointed.”

Leeds University is the fifth largest school in the United Kingdom with a total of more than 33,000 students.