There are fears at the University of Toronto that a resolution passed by one of its student unions could be used to prevent Jewish caterers from supplying goods or services.

A motion passed by Scarborough Campus Student Union (SCSU) at the University of Toronto pledged to buy kosher food “only” from kosher caterers who “do not normalise Israeli apartheid.”

Given the central role that the Jewish state plays in contemporary Jewish identity, the notion of excluding Jewish institutions that have connections to Israel potentially means untenable restrictions on other Jewish practices, including the provision of kosher food, much of which is produced in Israel.

Consequently, the resolution has led to fears among some Jewish students and student groups that they will not be able to have a kosher diet on campus.

Scarborough campus student Gabriela Rosenblum said that “even for something as simple” as ordering jam doughnuts for Chanukah, Jewish students at SCSU would “now be forced to prove that kosher caterers do not support their Jewish homeland” which, she added, was “basically impossible.”

A spokesperson for the University’s Hillel said it was “deeply disappointed” by the union’s position and called for the union executive to “reverse this shameful resolution.”

Daniel Koren, Executive Director of Hasbara Canada, said in a statement: “Whether the SCSU likes it or not, Israel is an essential part of Jewish identity. They do not have the right to tell Jewish students how to practice Judaism on campus.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism has expanded our coverage of antisemitism worldwide. Please contact us if you would like to share feedback or volunteer to assist with this project. 

The Cardiff University Students’ Union has adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism.

The welcome move will add pressure to Cardiff University, which earlier this year declined to adopt the Definition, ludicrously fearing “a potentially divisive situation.”

The motion was passed at the Students’ Union’s Annual General Meeting on 25th November, following unsuccessful efforts by student groups over the past year to pressure the University into doing so as well.

Elsewhere, Students’ Unions at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Queen Mary University of London, failed to represent and show solidarity with their Jewish members by adopting the Jerusalem Declaration, which is a wrecking document intended to undermine the globally-recognised Definition.

Both Universities have themselves adopted the Definition, even as their students unions have now failed to do so.

It is understood that at the UEA Students’ Union, the measure passed amid controversy over the extent to which Jewish representatives would be able to contribute to the debate. The UEA Jewish Society said in an e-mail to the Union Council that “it is disgusting that this is even being debated and that non-Jewish people feel they have the right to tell us, the Jewish community, what antisemitism is.” The motion expressly repudiated the International Definition of Antisemitism, even though it is supported by Jewish students, the wider Jewish community and national governments around the world.

It is understood that the campaign to adopt the wrecking document has been underway for months at the campus. Jewish students are reportedly reviewing appeal options.

At Queen Mary University, the Students’ Union repealed its previous adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism and replaced it with the Jerusalem Declaration. The measure was reportedly not discussed with Jewish students, who reacted with disgust.

Binyomin Gilbert, Programme Manager at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “We commend Cardiff Students’ Union for adopting the International Definition of Antisemitism and urge the University to follow the inspired lead of its students. We also call on the UEA and Queen Mary’s Students’ Unions to listen to Jewish students and think again.

“With efforts to water down the International Definition of Antisemitism increasingly failing, campus groups are now seeking to adopt the so-called ‘Jerusalem Declaration’ instead, which can only sabotage efforts to fight antisemitism.

“This week, we have seen students’ unions take the opposite approach to their universities: where the university has adopted the Definition, the students’ union adopts the Jerusalem Declaration, and where the university has failed to adopt the Definition, the students’ union does so.

“It is extraordinary that fighting racism should be so controversial: all universities and students’ unions, if they truly care about Jewish students, should be adopting the Definition in full and without caveat or substitutes.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism monitors the adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism by universities.

If any students are concerned about antisemitism on campus or need assistance, they can call us on 0330 822 0321, or e-mail [email protected]

The University and College Union (UCU) branch at Sheffield Hallam University has been condemned for passing a motion of solidarity with the disgraced professor, David Miller.

Prof. Miller, an academic obsessed with anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, was fired last month by the University of Bristol one month after Campaign Against Antisemitism commenced a lawsuit on behalf of current students against the institution, amid pressure from the Jewish community and leading politicians.

On 17th November, the inflammatory motion was passed by a vote of eighteen for and sixteen against, with eleven abstentions.

The motion says that the branch learned “with dismay” that Prof. Miller had been fired, calling the allegations against the disgraced academic “malicious and unfounded”. Deploying a familiar trope, the motion baselessly claimed that “Miller had been accused of antisemitism because of his criticisms of Israel and Zionism,” an antisemitic notion known today as the “Livingstone Formulation”, a phrase named by Prof. David Hirsch after the former Mayor of London.

The motion also insisted that there was nothing wrong in Prof. Miller’s claim that the Bristol University Jewish Society was “acting in the interests of a foreign state, Israel,” even though this too is a classic antisemitic trope.

The motion went on to suggest that Prof. Miller’s dismissal was somehow evidence of the “inadequacy” of the “discredited” International Definition of Antisemitism, even though this Definition enjoys the consensus support of the Jewish community and has been adopted by all major political parties and numerous national governments around the world.

The motion resolved to send an “expression of solidarity” to Prof. Miller; call on the University of Bristol to rescind its decision to sack him; call on the National Executive Committee of UCU to “consider the imposition of ‘greylisting’ on Bristol until Miller is reinstated”; and call on the leadership of UCU to write to the Vice Chancellor, Senate and Trustees of the University of Bristol to express UCU’s “condemnation of this assault on academic freedom”.

An amendment urging caution was reportedly delayed until after the motion was passed, and the amendment itself was then voted down.

Sheffield Jewish Society said in a statement that “Miller created a hostile for Jewish students at Bristol” and accused the local UCU branch of “importing this hostility to Sheffield by accusing those same students of being malicious actors and claiming that their accusations of antisemitism are unfounded.” The statement observed that the UCU branch chose not to speak to Jewish students and their representative bodies to understand their concerns, and noted that “when claims of antisemitism are dismissed as being ‘malicious and unfounded’, and assumed to be dishonest tools to silence criticism of Israel, Jewish students are not being safeguarded from antisemitism, but rather antisemitism is safeguarded and nurtured.”

The statement ended by calling on the Sheffield Hallam University UCU to “rescind the motion, which does harm to Jewish academic staff and students, and for the hundreds of [local UCU]  members who did not attend this meeting, and allowed this motion to be passed in their name, to take seriously their responsibility to stand against antisemitism within their university.”

Earlier this year, UCU Scotland also issued a statement defending Prof. Miller.

UCU has a horrendous reputation in the Jewish community.

Binyomin Gilbert, Programme Manager at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “David Miller is a conspiracy theorist who believes that Bristol’s Jewish Society and the entire nationwide Jewish student body ‘encourage Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism’. His teachings have been going on for years and, after a long, community-wide campaign and a lawsuit by Campaign Against Antisemitism on behalf of Jewish students, Bristol University finally made a decision to fire him.

“Rather than reflect on this episode, Sheffield Hallam UCU has maligned Jewish students, alienating them and Jewish staff and adding to a litany of insults to the Jewish community from UCU over the years. It is little wonder that UCU’s reputation in the Jewish community is in the gutter.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism monitors the adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism by universities. Sheffield Hallam University has adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism.

If any students are concerned about antisemitism on campus or need assistance, they can call us on 0330 822 0321, or e-mail [email protected].