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Goldsmiths, University of London is adopting internationally and nationally recognised definitions of antisemitism and Islamophobia as part of efforts to tackle racism in all its forms.
The College is adopting two definitions of antisemitism, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition without case studies and the Jerusalem Declaration definition, and the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims’ definition of Islamophobia.
The adoption of the three definitions was approved in May by the College’s Academic Board, which is the highest academic authority at Goldsmiths, and was ratified by Goldsmiths’ Council, the College’s governing body, at its meeting on 23 June 2022.
Goldsmiths is adopting the two definitions of antisemitism to reflect the views of the College’s academic community, which favoured the Jerusalem Declaration over the IHRA definition. Adopting both gives the College greater scope when considering potential issues. The College is clear that the adoption of these definitions does not prevent criticism of the actions or policies of the state of Israel, as applies to any other nation state and government.
Oversight of the definitions and a review in a year’s time will be within the auspices of the Racial Justice Board.
Work will now begin to incorporate the three definitions into the processes and governance of the College. They will help the College meet its commitment to maintaining a safe and supportive environment for all of our community to study and work in.
At the meeting of Council it was also decided that Goldsmiths will hold an independent review into antisemitism at the College to ensure that Goldsmiths’ processes and protocols are able to address reports of such behaviours appropriately.
This follows reports of antisemitism received by the College this academic year, including those linked to Goldsmiths Students’ Union. The College is consulting the Equality and Human Rights Commission about good practice on such a project, with a view to appointing a barrister to undertake this work beginning later this summer.
Professor Frances Corner, Warden of Goldsmiths, has also offered public support for Dr David Hirsh, from the Department of Sociology, who was the subject of unjustified comments made on social media earlier this year.
Professor Corner said: “We are supporting Dr Hirsh after unwarranted messages about him were posted on social media which I believe are utterly without foundation. These kinds of behaviours are completely unacceptable and will always be challenged.
“As Warden I want to make it clear that this kind of conduct is not in line with the College’s values and that it brings harm to individuals as well as our good reputation as a place of learning.”
NB: This piece was amended on 26.06.2022 to correct the name of the Jerusalem Declaration, which was originally mistitled. We apologise for this mistake.