JUSTICE - No. 71

38 No. 71 JUSTICE Universities I find it extraordinary that the non-legally binding IHRA working definition of antisemitism is seen by some as an attack on academic freedom. This is manifestly not the case. It is surely not beyond the wit of our greatest minds to be able to criticize Israel without lapsing into antisemitism. We are in dangerous times when some cannot distinguish between legitimate criticism of the policies of a democratically elected government and blatant antisemitism. Since his appointment, Lord Mann has held meetings in universities across the UK to discuss the IHRA definition of antisemitism. Lord Mann views the wide adoption of the definition as a key aspect of ensuring safety and freedom for Jewish students in higher and further education. In March 2022, Lord Mann, with the support of a crossparty group of MPs from the APPG Against Antisemitism, announced that they would be launching a Taskforce to investigate the situation on campus. The Report, published in May 2023, made a number of recommendations for institutions on how they might improve their relationship with Jewish students and staff.20 The Report is accompanied by a “Good Practice Guide” which takes examples of good practice from various universities and others, to demonstrate how they can best support Jewish students on campus.21 A clear finding from the publication was that there were no reports of any impediment to free speech or academic research caused by adoption or use of the IHRA definition of antisemitism. The Taskforce has already had positive feedback that the Report is a useful tool for universities. As of November 15, 2022, the Office for Students (OfS) published a list of providers that have adopted the IHRA working definition of antisemitism. It recorded 245 providers in England, including most universities.22 The UK Government has also supported an expansion of the Holocaust Educational Trust Lessons from Auschwitz project, in collaboration with the Union of Jewish Students (UJS), to tackle antisemitism on university campuses.23 The scheme underpinned joint activity to combat prejudice on campus and promote community cohesion. Football As part of Lord Mann’s role as Antisemitism Ambassador for football's leading anti-discrimination organization “Kick It Out,”24 Lord Mann set up the Kick It Out Advisory Group on Antisemitism and hosts meetings for the group throughout the year. Lord Mann and Kick It Out organize training sessions on combating antisemitism open to all Equality, Diversity and Inclusion staff and others at Premier League and English Football League clubs and Football Associations (FAs). These workshops are hosted by different football clubs and focus on the history of antisemitism, contemporary antisemitism, and football’s role in combatting antisemitism. Lord Mann and Kick It Out host regular events, meetings, and delegations for sports personnel, with the aim of sharing good practice and ideas on combating antisemitism in sport through club and fan education and cooperation. Projects to Address Antisemitism In 2018, we supported the Antisemitism Policy Trust’s International Sara Conference, which looked at the specific way in which antisemitism and other forms of hatred target women. This is more poignant considering October 7, where evidence is emerging that Hamas raped Israeli women and girls – in many cases before murdering them – and the lack of empathy and support from women’s groups across the world. Stand Up! Stand Up! is an anti-discrimination interfaith project, led by Maccabi GB, run in partnership with the CST, and Tell MAMA.25 It brings Jewish and Muslim educators into the classroom to facilitate informal conversations with young people. Stand Up! creates a safe space and through interactive workshops, students are empowered to learn about and act against racism and discrimination 20. Parliamentary Taskforce on Antisemitism in Higher Education, “Understanding Jewish Experience in Higher Education,” The Office of HM Government’s Independent Adviser on Antisemitism (May, 2023), available at https://antisemitism.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/ Understanding-Jewish-Experience-in-Higher-Education. pdf 21. “A Good Practice Guide, Eight Simple Steps for Facilitating Jewish life and Tackling Antisemitism in Higher Education,” The Office of HM Government’s Independent Adviser on Antisemitism, available at https://antisemitism.org.uk/wpcontent/uploads/2023/05/A-Good-Practice-Guide.pdf 22. The latest list is available at https://www. officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/studentwellbeing-and-protection/prevent-and-addressharassment-and-sexual-misconduct/tackling-antisemitism/ 23. https://www.ujs.org.uk/lfau 24. https://www.kickitout.org/ 25. https://www.standupeducation.org/about