British university (illustrative)
British university (illustrative) iStock

British Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has announced that adopting the IHRA working definition of antisemitism is “essential, not optional” for UK universities.

“This is not a box-ticking exercise. It’s a vital tool in tackling antisemitism, because it sends a signal that the university takes these issues really seriously. It is a way of nailing your colours to the mast for all to see, telling everyone, students, staff, that antisemitism has no place anywhere,” Zahawi told the the Holocaust Educational Trust's Lord Merlyn Rees lecture, according to the UK Jewish News.

“I am not going to ease up until we see everyone fall into line on this,” Zahawi added.

Zahawi’s speech was heard by over 700 people from across the world who were attending the virtual lecture.

He also explained why his visit to Auschwitz in 2021 was a life altering experience.

“I know what it feels like to be a young Kurdish boy, terrified by a dictator who has corrupted the state for their own ends. I know what it feels like to be a child in a family that is forced to run away in fear, under cover of darkness; and [that I was forced to leave] rather than go to the same school I had always been to, and grown up with the same friends I’d always had. I know what it feels like when the people you looked to, to safeguard you, turn away from you.”

He said that old hatreds have reared up again, which was why it was essential to keep speaking up about the Holocaust.

“The dangers have not passed. Too many of those evils still exist today. I’ve heard first-hand of the abuse Jewish friends have faced in the streets, in restaurants and cafes,” he said. “We know that Jewish students are victims of antisemitism on campus; and we hear the despicable way that too many people attack the state of Israel and its citizens.”

Zahawi pledged continued government support for the Jewish community, saying that British Jews should not have be left to combat antisemitism on their own.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)

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