(March 31, 2021 / JNS) The student body at the University of Minnesota passed a referendum to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.
According to Minnesota Hillel, which urged students to back the IHRA Referendum, the measure passed with more than 1,700 votes.
“At a time when our country feels so divided and minorities are under increasing attack, we are thankful that our campus community stood with us on this important step,” Minnesota Hillel said in a statement on Instagram. “Thank you for prioritizing the well-being of our campus community and amplifying the campus conversation about fighting anti-Semitism, hatred and bias.”
The measure comes as a number of anti-Semitic incidents have taken place on campus in the past few years, including the discovery of graffiti and fliers around campus that feature swastikas, according to The Minnesota Daily.
In an open letter on March 19 to the Daily, pro-Palestinian Jewish students and 180-plus university community members voiced concern about the definition, saying that it doesn’t lessen the threat of anti-Semitism and “has been used to conflate legitimate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, obstructing political and academic freedom.”
The authors of the letter also claimed that the definition could suppress free speech, especially those of Palestinians, to criticize Israel.
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