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Buckinghamshire New University adopts IHRA definition of antisemitism

Buckinghamshire New University adopts IHRA definition of antisemitism


Antisemitism has no place within society and will not be tolerated at our University, says Vice-Chancellor.

Buckinghamshire New University has become the latest university formally to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

Consistent with the University’s historic mission to create a learning community that is truly inclusive, the definition will help inform the University’s existing policies on racism, discrimination, harassment and bullying. The decision was taken at a joint meeting of the University’s Senate and Council last week.

The IHRA definition is as follows:

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

The definition includes a non-exhaustive list of contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere, that could be seen as antisemitic when taking into account the overall context. You can read these here.

The University has adopted the IHRA definition alongside two additional clarifications, as set out by the UK’s Home Affairs Select Committee when it examined the issue in 2016. These will “ensure that freedom of speech is maintained in the context of discourse about Israel and Palestine, without allowing antisemitism to permeate any debate”. We will therefore also adopt the following statements:

  • It is not antisemitic to criticise the Government of Israel, without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent.
  • 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 University’s Senate and Council also committed to further work to build our inclusive community, including tackling Islamophobia, homophobia, antigypsyism, discrimination and prejudice experienced by other minority groups.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nick Braisby, said: “Antisemitism is repugnant. It is a form of racism, has no place within society and will not be tolerated at our University. 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.”