The Pears Foundation has withdrawn its name from the Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck. The news comes following a series of controversies involving the Institute’s Director, Prof. David Feldman, who opposes the adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism by universities.
In a statement, the Pears Foundation, which established the Institute in 2010, said that “The Institute has gained an international reputation for its innovative approach to the research and teaching of antisemitism.” However, the statement went on to say that “As the Institute increasingly tackles challenging and divisive issues in the public sphere, the Foundation’s Trustees have decided that continuing to be so closely associated with the Institute is no longer in the Foundation’s best interests.”
Accordingly, from 4th May the Institute will no longer bear the Pears Foundation’s name, however the Pears Foundation will continue to support the Institute “as one of several funders”.
Prof. Feldman has come under fire over the past several years for hindering the fight against antisemitism, including most recently his opposition to the adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism by universities.
Birkbeck, University of London has adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism, against the wishes of Prof. Feldman.
Prof. Feldman was not referred to in the statement and it was unclear whether the “divisive issues” referred to were the controversies involving him, which had led a number of figures to call on the Pears Foundation to intervene. Recently, Gideon Falter, the Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism said that “The Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck should not be lending its credibility to a man who does so much to hinder the fight against 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].