UK’s Buckinghamshire New University adopts IHRA antisemitism definition

Buckinghamshire New University has become the latest higher learning institution in the United Kingdom to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.The decision was made by the university’s senate and council last week in order to advance the institution’s “historic mission to create a learning community that is truly inclusive,” according to a university statement.However, while the university did adopt the IHRA definition, it did so alongside two additional clarifications, which state that criticizing the Israeli government is not inherently antisemitic, nor is holding Israel’s government to the same standards as other liberal democracies or taking interest in Israeli policies or actions.“Antisemitism is repugnant. It is a form of racism, has no place within society and will not be tolerated at our University,” vice chancellor Prof. Nick Braisby said in a statement.”Our decision to adopt the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism demonstrates our commitment to be an inclusive community that welcomes and celebrates all of our members irrespective of their background or ethnicity. Adopting the IHRA definition is an important step in our ongoing work towards eradicating racism, harassment, discrimination and prejudice.”The announcement comes following efforts made by the British government to push for all higher learning institutions in the UK to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism, which the government had adopted in 2016.In mid-October, the UK’s Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told UK universities that they must adopt the IHRA definition by the end of the year or risk loss of funding.

A survey from the Union of Jewish Students cited by the Jewish Chronicle showed that nearly 80% of UK universities have not yet adopted the definition.Eve Young contributed to this report.
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