The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday:
The University of Central Lancashire has canceled an Israel Apartheid Week event that contravened the recently UK-adopted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism.
The session was scheduled to take place next week under the title “Debunking Misconceptions on Palestine.” Anti-Israel activist Ben White and pro-Palestinian academics were due to speak at the event in Preston.
A statement issued by a university representative said: “We believe the proposed talk contravenes the new definition and furthermore breaches university protocols for such events, where we require assurances of a balanced view or a panel of speakers representing all interests.
“In this instance our procedures determined that the proposed event would not be lawful and therefore it will not proceed as planned,” the statement continued.
UJS Campaigns Officer Liron Velleman told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that while he does not expect to see many other British universities following suit by canceling events scheduled for the annual anti-Israel event, he does expect the subject to handled with more sensitivity.
“Following the move by Jo Johnson MP [the minister for universities and science] to encourage Universities UK to use the IHRA definition of antisemitism, universities will have a heightened awareness of ensuring events during Israel Apartheid Week will not violate values, expectations and laws but also that free speech and robust debate must remain a part of university life,” Velleman said in a written exchange with the Post.
Last week, Johnson sent a letter to the head of Universities UK, an organization representing universities across the country, drawing their attention to the definition of antisemitism
This is the letter that Jo Johnson wrote to the universities:
Free speech and academic freedom are fundamental to our higher education system. Many institutions have a legal duty to take reasonably practicable steps to secure freedom of speech for their members, students, employees and visiting speakers. We expect higher education institutions to have clearly set out procedures and policies for events and the hosting of external speakers which allow for open transparent events, challenge and debate and ensure that lawful speech can occur on campuses. Open and robust debate is how students should challenge those with whom they disagree. There is no place for students that use intimidation or violence to attempt to shut down the free and open exchange of ideas.
I am sure you share my concerns about the rising reports of anti-Semitic incidents in this country and will want to make sure that your own institution is a welcoming environment for all students and that the legal position and guidelines are universally understood and acted upon at all times. This will include events such as those that might take place under the banner of "Israel Apartheid' events for instance. Such events need to be property handled by higher education institutions to ensure that our values, expectations and laws are not violated.
In September 2015 the Government ask. Universities UK (UUK) to set up a Harassment Taskforce to consider what more can be done to address harassment on campus, including on the basis of religion and belief. The taskforce published its report: 'Changing the Culture' on 21 October 2016. UUK plan to establish more baseline evidence, and to assess institutions' progress in implementing the recommendations, so that the work of the taskforce makes a real difference. UUK will report their progress to me later this year.
This Government will diligently pursue our commitment to tackle intolerance and bigotry in every form: and continue to work in partnership with public bodies and communities to support institutions in the pursuit of eliminating anti-Semitism and all forms of harassment, discrimination Or racism.
JO JOHNSON MP
The definition of antisemitism officially adopted by the UK in December definitely includes "Israel Apartheid Week" activities by their very nature. Here is the entire definition:
Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.
Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.
Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:
Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.It looks like the heyday of BDS in the UK has ended. There is no way that something called "Israel Apartheid Week" doesn't violate "Applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation."
Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour).
Applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g. claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis.
Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.
(h/t Jonathan Hoffman)