A similar motion had been brought to a student members meeting in November 2020, where all students could vote, and it failed by an overwhelming margin, with 66% declining to support it. But the leadership of the Students’ Union insisted on taking the unusual step of calling a campus-wide referendum on the question: “Should the University reject the IHRA definition of antisemitism?”
City University has not yet adopted the International (IHRA) Definition of Antisemitism.
In deciding to call the referendum, it is understood that the Students’ Union appallingly failed to consult the Jewish Society.
It has been reported that 671 students voted in favour of the motion, with 260 opposed, representing a turnout of barely five percent of the estimated 20,000 students on campus. The University and College Union (UCU), which has a horrendous reputation in the Jewish community, reportedly backed the motion.
One visiting academic reportedly told the Jewish News that the passage of the motion would create a “hostile environment” for Jewish staff and students on campus, adding: “It’s an insult not to adopt it.”
Binyomin Gilbert, Programme Manager at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “City University’s Students’ Union has brought shame on the University. This referendum, apparently called after the failure of a similar attempt and without consultation with the Jewish Society, represents an abandonment of Jewish students by their own union. The goal of the campaign – to encourage the University not to adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism – is tantamount to reserving the right to be antisemitic, which may be why so few students turned out to endorse it. This referendum had no place on a distinguished campus, and we call on the University to ignore this shameful and intimidatory motion and adopt the Definition as so many other universities across the country have done.”
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].