Definition of anti-Semitism
Definition of anti-SemitismiStock

The Student Senate of the City University of New York (CUNY) has voted against a resolution endorsing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism and a second resolution adopted a lesser definition of anti-Semitism during a five-hour meeting.

The second resolution defined anti-Semitism as “hostility, prejudice, vilification, discrimination or violence directed against Jews, as individuals, groups, or as a collective — because they are Jews. Its expression includes attributing to Jews, as a group, practices, characteristics or behaviors that are perceived as dangerous, harmful, frightening, or threatening to non-Jews.” It stated that “the equation of speech and activity opposing Israel and Zionism, and/or supporting Palestinians, as inherently antisemitic is a form of anti-Palestinian racism.”

The lesser definition of anti-Semitism was put forward by the CUNY Jewish Law Students Association (JLSA) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), according to the Jewish Journal.

Jewish leftist group IfNotNow cheered the voting down of the IHRA definition. In a tweet they said, “Congratulations to the students at CUNY who organized against the codification of the controversial IHRA definition of antisemitism on their campus which would’ve curbed free speech, silenced Palestinians, and done nothing to make Jewish students any safer!”

StandWithUs, which supports the IHRA definition, called the vote disappointing but said they were satisfied the second resolution also failed.

“While it is extremely disappointing that CUNY USS voted against the IHRA definition of antisemitism, we are relieved that a definition that was crafted by members of Students for Justice in Palestine, to shield themselves from being criticized for promoting antisemitism, was also voted down,” StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein said in a statement.

“We commend Jewish students for standing up to such malicious bigotry and for the petition they created online that garnered thousands of signatures in favor of the IHRA definition. CUNY USS can still do the right thing by supporting the majority of Jewish students and recognizing the IHRA definition, and we call on them to do so,” Rothstein added.