1 in 5 British Universities Have Adopted IHRA Definition of Anti-Semitism, Survey Says

Eighty universities said they weren't going to adopt it.
September 30, 2020
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

A survey released on Sept. 30 found that only 1 in 5 British universities have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

The Jewish Chronicle reported that the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) survey found that 29 of Britain’s 133 universities had adopted the IHRA definition, which states that the demonization and delegitimization of Israel is anti-Semitic. Eighty of the remaining 104 universities said they wouldn’t adopt it; some said that it wasn’t necessary while others considered it an abridgement of free speech. Oxford and Cambridge were among the universities that said they wouldn’t adopt it.

Seventeen universities said they would weigh adopting the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, who has said that he would cut funding to universities that don’t adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, said he was “extremely disappointed” in the results of the UJS survey.

“Education is one of the most powerful tools we can use to combat anti-Semitism and adopting and actively using the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism sends a clear signal that Universities are serious about tackling antisemitism on campuses,” Jenrick said. “Some progress has been made since I urged all universities and the Higher Education Institutions adopt the IHRA definition, but I urge others to do so without delay. It is simply unacceptable that universities accept public money, but refuse to take this step.”

UJS similarly said in a statement, “Whilst pleased that that almost 30 institutions have taken steps to protect the Jewish students by adopting this definition, we continue to be frustrated and dissatisfied that universities have failed to sufficiently protect their Jewish students from anti-Jewish racism, the oldest form of racial hatred.”

Pro-Israel Twitter accounts also expressed disappointment in the UJS survey’s findings.

“80% think it is more important to spread lies about Jews than protect their Jewish students,” British researcher David Collier tweeted. “That’s the state of UK academia.”


Sussex Friends of Israel also tweeted, “Important that the utter apathy with which many of our universities have had towards the IHRA was exposed. Thanks to @UJS_UK for doing just that.”


A July report from the Community Security Trust (CST) found that anti-Semitic incidents in Britain declined 13% from 2019 to 2020, but the total number of anti-Semitic incidents at that point in 2020, 789, was the third highest figure that the CST ever has recorded.

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