UC Berkeley’s student senate voted against the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism during a February 15 meeting that lasted until 3 a.m.
After a five-hour long discussion, the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) Senate voted to indefinitely table the resolution by a vote of 13 in favor, four against and three abstentions. ASUC Senator Shay Cohen, who introduced the resolution, posted to Instagram afterwards, “The AUSC failed the Berkeley Jewish community last night. Telling a minority group how they should define their lived experiences of oppression, discrimination, and hatred is never acceptable. Once again, Jewish students are left feeling unheard and discouraged to display their Jewish pride on this campus. We are so proud of the courage from our community last night to come and fight for our voices and what we believe in.”
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The news was first reported by Jewish News of Northern California (The J).
Cohen told the J that the resolution’s passage was a “longshot” but thought that introducing “it brought a lot of attention to a deeper issue on what it means to be antisemitic at Berkeley.”
Berkeley Hillel similarly said in a statement posted to Instagram that they are “disappointed” that the IHRA resolution failed in the ASUC. “Defining and recognizing antisemitism and hate is a critical first step toward our collective goal of making UC Berkeley a safer and more inclusive space for Jewish students and for all students. We are grateful to the many students who shared their personal lived experiences with antisemitism and brought their unique perspectives to this important and very personal issue. We look forward to continuing to work loosely with student leaders, the administration, and the larger community to promote an inclusive and welcoming campus environment at UC Berkeley, and to help ensure that antisemitism, hate, and bas of any kind have no place at our school.”