On Tuesday 27th October 2020, Queen Mary Student’s Union Student Council members voted in favour of adopting, in full, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. The definition, which has been adopted by Students Union’s across the country, sets out a clear working definition of antisemitism can be referred to in order to settle reported cases of antisemitism in the students’ complaints procedures.
The definition states antisemitism as being;
“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.”
It also outlines a series of examples that can help to offer clear guidance on how individuals can recognise how antisemitism manifests itself in society today, including how to differentiate it from legitimate criticism of the state of Israel.
The motion was submitted to Student Council by our Vice President Communities, Tiana Dinard-Samuel, along with members of the Queen Mary Jewish and Israel Society. Tiana said
“The Executive Officers and I were eager for this to pass because QMSU did not previously have a working definition of antisemitism and unfortunately there has been an increase of antisemitism across universities in the UK. By adopting this definition, we hope to be better equipped to identify and combat antisemitism, making sure we protect our Jewish students from abuse. At QMSU, we have a zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination and so this definition provides clarity to tackling that. Moving forward, I’m excited to work with our Jewish Society on Antisemitism Awareness Month which we’ll be hosting in January for the first time and should be a really great campaign!“
Joel Azulay and Jack Hodari of Queen Mary’s Jewish and Israel Society said:
“We are pleased that the Students Union has also voted to adopt the IHRA definition at their most recent Student Council meeting. This adoption of this definition is a vital step in protecting Jewish students on campus. It will give confidence to our Jewish students that antisemitism will not be tolerated by the University or the Students Union."
Queen Mary University of London have also voted to adopt the IHRA definition in full, after a University Senate meeting on the 15th October 2020. This was, in part, driven by staff and students working together with Queen Mary’s Race Equality Action Group, in collaboration with the Jewish and Israel Society. Click here to read their full statement.