The American Association of University Professors has come under fire for publishing a policy document that demonizes the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s working definition of anti-Semitism by Florida’s state legislature.
Published in March 2022, the document claims that “conservative politicians have justified restrictive legislation under the guise of protecting students” and argues that the wording of the definition conflates political critiques of Israel with Judaism.
The document further ads that academic and intellectual freedom is threatened by the IHRA definition because the definition regards Palestinian activism as a form of discrimination, thus “skewing the social and legal meaning of equality.”
In response to the AAUP’s policy document, Miriam Elman, executive director of the Academic Engagement Network, highlighted the growing number of Jewish students who increasingly feel “the need to disavow their Zionism in order to fit in and succeed on campus.”
“Instead of silencing speech or infringing on academic freedom,” she said, “the definition helps to encourage a robust discussion of the multifaceted nature of contemporary anti-Semitism, including when it’s disguised as anti-Israel and anti-Zionist animus.”
Elman added, “The IHRA definition, in fact, promotes free speech by ensuring that Jewish students can openly express the Zionist components of their identity and participate in campus life without being shunned, ostracized or harassed