Cambridge University agrees to International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism – In Your Area

Posted By on November 9, 2020

By Alya Zayed

The University of Cambridge has agreed to a new definition of antisemitism, with some clarifications to protect free speech.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliances (IHRA) definition of antisemitism was adopted in full last week.

The definition is a tool to understand how antisemitism can manifest itself and will be used as a test to establish whether behaviour that is in breach of the universitys rules is antisemitic.

Examples of antisemitism given by the IHRA include, but are not limited to, making dehumanising or stereotypical allegations about Jewish people, such as the myth about Jewish people controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions; calling for or justifying the killing or harming of Jewish people; and Holocaust denial.

Regarding Israel, the definition also includes denying Jewish people the right to self-determination, such as by claiming the existence of the state of Israel is racist; accusing Jewish people of being more loyal to Israel than their own nation; applying standards to Israel that are not expected of other nations; comparing Israeli government policy to Nazism; or holding Jewish people collectively responsible for Israel.

However, the university has also made some clarifications to ensure that freedom of speech is maintained in the context of discourse about Israel and Palestine, without allowing antisemitism to permeate any debate, as recommended by the Home Affairs Select Committee in 2016.

The clarifications are: It is not antisemitic to criticise the government of Israel, without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent and it is not antisemitic to hold the Israeli government to the same standards as other liberal democracies, or to take a particular interest in the Israeli government's policies or actions, without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent.

The IHRAs working definition of antisemitism has received some criticism from campaigners. In February 2017 243 British academics wrote in an open letter in The Guardian to say the definition is anti-Palestinian and may silence campus discussion about Israel, including its violation of the rights of Palestinians.

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Cambridge University agrees to International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of antisemitism - In Your Area

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