In the House of Lords this week, cross-party peers encouraged the promotion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA’s) definition of antisemitism. Government Minister Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth outlined the Government’s work in this area, highlighting that “considerable progress” has been made in combatting antisemitism, particularly on University campuses.
In an oral question, Lord Leigh of Hurley asked the Government “what steps they are taking to promote the use of the definition of antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, together with its guidance notes”.
Lord Leigh emphasised that “all institutions and political parties should adopt this definition of anti-Semitism, which includes, of course, disproportionate attacks on Israel”. He expressed his concern that “in this parliamentary session there have been, according to the House of Lords Library, more than 250 Questions on Israel which, to put it in context, compares with 50 on Iran and five on antisemitism.”
Government Minister Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth underlined that the Government had adopted the IHRA definition in December 2016, and had since “encouraged local authorities to adopt the definition”. He announced that “to date, 135 local authorities across the United Kingdom have done so, as have a number of universities, the National Union of Students (NUS) and the Union of Jewish Students (UJS)”.
The Minister welcomed Rt. Hon. Lord Pickles to his place in the House of Lords, highlighting that he “has done so much great work in this area”.
Referring to antisemitism on University campuses, Lord Bourne said that “there are issues there that remain a concern, but in all fairness considerable progress has been made”.
He added: “The present NUS president, Shakira Martin, deserves praise. She has been working with the Union of Jewish Students, for example. There is still work to be done, but considerable work has been done in that regard”.
Read the full exchange here.