Jewish students outraged after UK uni staff challenge IHRA definition of anti-Semitism

Anti-IHRA staff motion that passed with 93% majority leaves Jewish students wondering if they are still safe on campus.

Dan Verbin ,

England - Union Jack
England - Union Jack
iStock

UK Jewish students have denounced a motion calling on the University of Warwick to drop its use of the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism passed overwhelmingly by the school’s staff assembly.

At a June meeting, the Warwick Assembly easily passed a resolution urging the university to suspend its use of the IHRA definition, with 93 percent voting in favor.

The motion mandated that Warwick create a committee to draft recommendations for how discrimination, including anti-Semitism, should be handled by the university, reported the Jewish Chronicle.

It further stipulated that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) should not be consulted by the committee in its preparation of the report.

“How can they claim they want to fulfill their moral duty to protect all members, which includes Jewish students, when this motion clearly disregards the wants and needs of Jewish students?” asked the Union of Jewish Students, the body that represents the UK’s 8,500 Jewish students.

They added that they, along with the Warwick Jewish and Israeli Society, were “frustrated and angered” by the assembly’s move.

Noting that “over 100 Higher Education Institutions, all major UK political parties and 35+ countries have adopted the definition” they urged Warwick to “reaffirm its adoption IHRA including its use in disciplinary processes and finally fulfil its duty of care.”

Warwick adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism in October 2020 in the wake of outrage following an incident where professor claimed that the “Israel lobby” was behind investigations of alleged anti-Semitism within the Labour Party.

At the time, the Union of Jewish Students commended Warwick for listening to the concerns of Jewish students.

“The intervention by the Secretary of State for Education has been a deciding factor in what has been a long campaign by Jewish students at the University to ensure that anti-Jewish racism is recognized and tackled effectively,” the Union said in a statement. “This is a welcome first step in guaranteeing the welfare and safety of Jewish students, and we will be seeking further clarification from the University as to how the definition will be used in disciplinary cases.”

The University of Warwick is located on the outskirts of Coventry, UK.



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