Baroness Amos meeting was ‘my worst ever’, says Arkush


Jonathan Arkush, the president of the Board of Deputies, has said a meeting with Baroness Amos, the director of the School of Oriental and African Studies, was the worst he has ever had with a senior university official.

Mr Arkush met the baroness last Wednesday to discuss her rejection of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance antisemitism definition.

Speaking at a Board meeting on Sunday, he told delegates the talks were “the least satisfactory meeting I have held in eight years with something like 30 vice-chancellors”.

In an appearance on the  BBC’s Sunday Politics programme in March, Baroness Amos said she had not adopted the IHRA definition after consulting her own Centre for Jewish Studies department.

Mr Arkush told deputies: “I repeatedly said to Lady Amos: ‘Show me what you thought was wrong with the IHRA definition of antisemitism’. She just couldn’t. She just said it was ‘contentious’.”

But Mr Arkush also added that Soas, in London, “is probably not the worst place around our campus community. There is Israeli studies, Hebrew studies — they all run well.

“Lady Amos is entitled to stress this to me. She also stressed that Israel’s ambassador came [to the campus]recently — although she was severely criticised for hosting him. I accept all these things.”

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