Cambridge University adopts IHRA definition of antisemitism

Institution had previously claimed antisemitic behaviour was covered by its Rules of Behaviour 


Cambridge University has followed Warwick in adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. 

The decision to adopt the definition – including all 11 examples – was made by the General Board on 4 November. 

The university included two clarifications made by the Home Affairs Select Committee in 2016, which stipulate that criticism of the Israeli government was not antisemitic without additional evidence to suggest otherwise. 

The institution had previously resisted calls to adopt the IHRA definition. After Education Secretary Gavin Williamson wrote to universities urging them to adopt the definition, a Cambridge University spokesperson told the JC it believed any behaviour that would fall within the IHRA definition was already covered by “current Rules of Behaviour”. 

The news was welcomed by the Cambridge University Jewish Society (CUJS). In a statement, Joel Rosen, the group’s external affairs officer, said: “We trust that this announcement endows colleges, faculties and departments with the clarity and confidence to take robust action to safeguard Jewish students and we will seek further details on how this decision will be implemented.   

“No Jewish student or member of staff should face the degrading indignity of antisemitism be it through coded tropes or explicit abuse. CUJS will work with allies across the collegiate university and beyond to challenge prejudice, support victims and fearlessly advocate on their behalf. 

“It is now time for Cambridge SU to welcome this decision and follow suit.” 

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