UK universities must adopt IHRA definition, minister says

The British government is “actively exploring” means to insure that all universities in the United Kingdom adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, Minister of State for Universities Michelle Donelan said.

Donelan was approached about the issue by MP Robert Halfon, chair of the Education Select Committe, following a Union of Jewish Students survey that showed only 29 out of 133 British higher education institutes recognized the IHRA definition, according to the Jewish Chronicle.

Among the most notable institutions unwilling to adopt the IHRA definition were Cambridge and Oxford.

“Universities seem to be very active in terms of pulling down statues, but when it comes to the Holocaust so many seem prepared to turn a blind eye,” Halfon said. “Is this not shameful?”

Donelan agreed, saying that she wants “to see every university adopting this definition – so did my predecessors who have written several times to the universities on this matter, including [Secretary of State Robert Jenick], I believe.

“It has not shifted the dial. We are not seeing enough of these universities adopting the definition, it is not good enough.

“I am now looking at other measures that we can utilize to make it happen. My message today is to urge universities to do this or we are going to look for solutions to ensure that you do so.”

No decisions regarding what measures or penalties would be put in place to insure the institutions adopt the definition, with Halfon saying that he and Donelan were exploring possible responses.


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