After a Freedom of Information request campaign and investigation by UJS, on the 30th September UJS announced that only 28 out of 133 Higher education institutions had adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism. The adoption of this definition is the first step to ensuring that Jewish students are protected, it is outrageous that after multiple government interventions only 1 in 5 have so far adopted it. UJS saw communal and national coverage of this, including Jewish News, Jewish Chronicle and the Telegraph.
We know Jewish students play the biggest role and therefore we need Jewish students across the country to be putting pressure on their university management. We thank the students that have worked so hard to get this definition adopted on their campuses and we are continuously working with students on the ground to combat antisemitism.
UJS has been working with Members of Parliaments who have repeatedly raised this issue with Government Ministers resulting in a Westminster Hall debate on the 6th of October.
On the 9th of October, Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education, wrote to all educational institutions registered to the OFS to demand that they adopt the IHRA definition by Christmas 2020.
The Community Security Trust released a report in December titled Campus Antisemitism in Britain 2018-2020. In the previous two academic years CST saw 123 antisemetic incidents. They have made a number of recommendations to universities, one being the adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism. This reaffirms the hard work both UJS, J-Socs and Jewish students do on campus.
On the 21st December 2020, the University of Oxford adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism in full, joining the growing list of UK universities, along with the University of Cambridge. This should be an example to all other higher education institutes of the importance of adopting this definition.
On the 22nd January 2021, nearly 100 Jewish student leaders wrote to the Guardian newspaper to say: "it is time for a discussion of the IHRA definition and its adoption by British universities to reflect the lived realities of Jewish students. Retired judges, activists based in the Middle East and far-left non-Jewish academics are not on the frontline enduring antisemitism on campus – we are."
A total of 85 HE institutions have now adopted this critical definition.
Below are all the institutions that have adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism:
Adopted after September 30th 2020
Adopted after January 1st 2021
If you want to find out more about the IHRA definition, its significance and importance for the British Jewish Community; here are some resources for you:
In defence of the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism - Fathom eBook
Contemporary Struggles over Defining Antisemitism - David Hirsch