Michigan State U Jewish students withdraw anti-Semitism bill

After intense campaign by campus anti-Israel groups, Jewish students forced to withdraw motion to adopt IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

Dan Verbin ,

Definition of anti-Semitism and anti-Semite
Definition of anti-Semitism and anti-Semite

Under intense pressure from anti-Israel campus groups, Jewish students at Michigan State University withdrew a bill to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism after it had already been passed by the student association general assembly.

On March 18, the Associated Students of Michigan State University general assembly passed the resolution by 81 percent, stated Michigan State Hillel. Shortly therefore, due to intense pressure by campus anti-Israel groups, student representatives started to withdraw their support for the bill claiming they hadn’t read the resolution before passing it.

The student assembly then released a statement attacking the IHRA definition as “silencing political thought surrounding the occupation of historic Palestine.” They recommended adopting the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism, a watered down definition created by those who oppose the IHRA definition.

Consequently the student body held several special meetings during the period just before and during Passover. Jewish students who put forward the original resolution felt like they were being singled out.

They were then forced by the assembly to speak at a meeting to explain how each example in the definition defined anti-Semitism. If they did not, the bill would be vetoed. They instead chose to withdraw the bill, rather than risk being the subject of retaliation.

The student assembly had previously passed anti-racism and anti-discrimination resolutions for other minority student groups on campus without incident.

There has been a rash of anti-Semitic incidents at the university in recent times. In October 2019, the Hillel sukkah was destroyed by two students caught on camera. A Jewish student received death threats through Facebook messenger. Jewish religious symbols have been vandalized.