education

Jewish students are protected by the IHRA definition of antisemitism | Letter


The commentariat’s analysis of the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism by British universities (Letters, 7 January) does not resemble the reality we have witnessed on the ground.

Critics of the IHRA definition have sought to depict it as a diktat imposed by the education secretary that would inhibit freedom of speech. Their narrative ignores the reality that it is university Jewish societies across the country and the Union of Jewish Students, which represents 8,500 students, that have long been campaigning in good faith for our universities to adopt this definition.

We have done so because we seek to protect Jewish students and not the government of the State of Israel. The definition explicitly states that criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against other states cannot be considered antisemitic.

The IHRA definition acknowledges that antisemitism can be subtle, and our experience confirms this. The abuse we face is often cloaked in political discourse. When Jewish students who protested against Jeremy Corbyn’s visit to the University of Bristol described being called a “filthy zio” and “a puppet of the Zionist lobby”, and being “repeatedly asked who was paying [them] to be there”, and told that they “should go back to where [they] belong”, they were not encountering criticism of the State of Israel; rather, they were experiencing naked antisemitism.

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.

We believe that this definition affords Jewish students the best possible protection, and we are the people best equipped to make that judgment.

Joel Rosen External affairs officer, Cambridge University Jewish Society

James Harris President, Union of Jewish Students (UJS)

Jonathan Braun President, World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS)

Bini Guttmann President, European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS)

Edward Isaacs President, Bristol Jewish Society

Toby Kunin President, Warwick University Jewish Society; UJS national council

Jack Lubner Co-youth and students officer, Jewish Labour Movement

Samuel Goldstone President, UCL Jewish Society

Grace Silverstein President, Leeds Jewish Society

Adam Caplan President, University of York Jewish Society

Nadia Goldman President, Birmingham Jewish Society

Benjamin Lovat Co-president, Imperial College London Jewish Society

Lucinda Bathie President, Glasgow University Jewish Society

Sam Kaufman President, City University Jewish Society

Abe Tolley Outgoing president, Cambridge University Jewish Society

Sam Kunin President, Cambridge University Jewish Society

Shayna Wise-Till President, Leicester University Jewish Society

Emily Katz Co-president, Sheffield University Jewish Society

Joel Azulay President, Queen Mary University of London Jewish and Israel Society

Rachel Dutch President, Surrey University Jewish Society

Dominic Casoria President, Lancaster University Jewish Society

Ethan Weitzman Co-president, Imperial Jewish Society

Zac Abrahams President, University of Westminster Jewish Society

Peter Strauss President, Oxford Brookes Jewish Society; UJS national council

Nina Freedman President-elect, Union of Jewish Students

Esther Offenberg President, Union of Jewish Students (2019-20)

Hannah Rose President, Union of Jewish Students (2018-19) and UJS trustee

Joshua Holt President, Union of Jewish Students (2017-18)

Hannah Brady President, Union of Jewish Students (2015-16)

Ella Rose President, Union of Jewish Students (2014-15)

Yos Tarshish President, Union of Jewish Students (2013-14); WUJS chairperson 2015-18

Alex Green President, Union of Jewish Students (2012-13)

Ruben Gerczikow Vice-president, European Union of Jewish Students

Elias Dray Vice-president, European Union of Jewish Students

Dana Winter Vice-president, European Union of Jewish Students

Rebecca Lyons Vice-president, University College London Jewish Society

AJ Solomon Vice-president, Bristol University Jewish Society

Miles Stewart-Compton Vice-president, Southampton University Jewish Society

Tristan Benhamou Vice-president, Goldsmiths Jewish Community

Ben Heath Treasurer, Southampton University Jewish Society

Joshua Garfield Councillor, London Borough of Newham; National executive committee, Jewish Labour Movement

Luisa Attfield Co-youth and students officer, Jewish Labour Movement

Bradley Langer Campaigns organiser, Union of Jewish Students

Daniel Sacks Council chair, Union of Jewish Students

Benjamin Harari Union of Jewish Students National Council

Gil Rubin Sabbatical officer, Union of Jewish Students

Shiri Wolff Communications officer, Union of Jewish Students

James Hamburger Aston chair, Birmingham Jewish Society

Millie Walker University chair and campaigns officer, Leeds Jewish Society

Guy Dabby-Joory Former president, Oxford University Jewish Society

Nathan Boroda Youth and students officer, Jewish Labour Movement North West

Ari Deller Former president, Edinburgh University Jewish Society (2019-20)

Adam Grossman Former president, Leeds Jewish Society

Noah Katz Campaigns officer, Lancaster Jewish Society

Elana Keiles UJS representative on the Board of Deputies

Jeremy Schiff Treasurer, Cambridge Jewish Society

Ariel Simble Inter-communities and social action, Leeds Jewish Society

Elianna Rabinowitz President, Fitzwilliam College Cambridge Jewish Society

Abigail Wander Elder and former welfare officer, University of Bristol

Dora Hirsh Inclusions officer, Sheffield Jewish Society

Sabrina Miller Former campaigns officer, Bristol University Jewish Society

Georgina Bumpus Former vice-president, Oxford University Jewish Society

Anthony Bolchover UJS representative on the Board of Deputies

Noah Besbrode Youth leader, FZY

Asher Renton Team leader, CST Birmingham Universities

Emily Sinclair Oxford University Jewish Society

Rachel Zerdin Oxford University Jewish Society

Dani Abrams Events/social officer, Leeds Jewish Society

Ariel Levine Oxford University Jewish Society

Esther Walker Member, national executive council, Union of Jewish Students

Alex Rosalki Former student synagogue leader, University of Leeds

David Bush Shabbat officer, Warwick Jewish Society

Jonah Cowen Former vice-president, Oxford University Jewish Society

Jodie Franks National executive committee, UJS

Chad Greenblatt Finance officer, City University of London Jewish Society

Michal Cohen Communications officer, City University of London Jewish Society

Gideon Bernstein Oxford University Jewish Society

Isaac Adni Oxford University Jewish Society

Ilan Selby Policy officer at the European Union of Jewish Students; incoming board member of the World Union of Jewish Students

Michel Rodan Legrain Programme officer, European Union of Jewish Students

Sam Lawrence Birmingham Jewish Society

Samuel Rubinstein Former president, Cambridge University Jewish Society

George Aminoff Sports rep at Birmingham Jewish Society

Ella Shindler Education officer, Cambridge University Jewish Society

Jacob Freedland Committee member, Cambridge University Jewish Society

Noam Solomons-Wise Egalitarian representative, Cambridge University Jewish Society

Joshua Davies Founder, Leicester Jewish Society

Reuben Brown Cambridge University Jewish Society

Louise Majetschak Graduate representative, Cambridge University Jewish Society

Samuel Lachmann Cambridge University Jewish Society

Delphie Levy Jones Social secretary, University Liverpool Jewish Society

Debby Poznanski Former chair, University of Birmingham Jewish Society

Rebecca Woolich President, University of Kent Jewish Society

Jacob Rosenberg Goldsmiths Jewish Society

Amanda Sefton UJS sabbatical officer



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