It was announced today by the University that “the Middlesex University Board of Governors has unanimously agreed that the institution will adopt in full the International [D]efinition of Antisemitism with immediate effect. The decision has the full support of the Students’ Union.”
In a statement, Vice-Chancellor Prof. Nic Beech, said: “Middlesex is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion and has a long history of promoting anti-racism. We are proud to be one of the most diverse universities in the UK and to be situated in the heart of the largest Jewish population in Europe. I am extremely grateful to local and national Jewish groups who have spent time with me and colleagues to increase our understanding of the Definition. While there have been criticisms that adopting the Definition could limit academic freedom, our view is that the Definition can be applied in a way which enables dialogue and discussion within and between faiths. Our commitment to anti-racism is equalled by our defence of academic free speech.
“Racism in all its forms is wrong. We strive to be a place where everyone is safe and free to flourish without fear of discrimination. In order to maximise the value of the [D]efinition we will need to embed it meaningfully across the University. This is not the end point but rather the beginning in how we hope to continue working with the Jewish community as well as other communities across our diverse and deep global network for the benefit of all.”
The Vice President of the University’s Students’ Union, Tahmina Choudhury, said: “Whilst this Definition is not without criticism or universal, we accept that it is the most accepted definition of antisemitism within the Jewish community. We also believe that in order to tackle an issue you need to be able to define it and we therefore support this decision. We are proud to represent students from many faith backgrounds as one of the most diverse universities in the world. We would therefore welcome the University committing to positive action to tackle all forms of faith-based prejudice.”
Binyomin Gilbert, Programme Manager at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “We welcome the adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism by Middlesex University and the Students’ Union. As a popular university with Jewish students and situated at the heart of one of the largest Jewish communities in the country, Middlesex has a particular responsibility to commit to fighting antisemitism on its campus, and we are delighted that the University is living up to that responsibility by adopting the Definition.
“The campaign for widespread adoption of the Definition by universities is progressing well, but as our real-time monitoring shows, a majority of British universities have yet to adopt it, and we call on them to do so now.”
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].