URFA opposes IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism
On April 6, 2021 URFA’s Executive Committee unanimously passed a motion to support academic freedom by rejecting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism. In doing so, URFA joins the Academic Alliance Against Antisemitism, Racism, Colonialism & Censorship in Canada (ARC), which is made up of more than 20 faculty associations and unions.
URFA stands against antisemitism and all forms of racism and hated. The support of academic freedom and the ability of URFA members to conduct their work and research without institutional censorship, is a key element of URFA’s vision and mission, and is rooted in our Constitution and Bylaws (see Article II). Outlined below, the motion URFA adopted expresses our concerns with the existing definition.
The University of Regina Faculty Association unequivocally supports the academic freedom of its members. This freedom includes the right to pursue research and open inquiry in an honest search for knowledge that is free from institutional censorship, including that of the government. While URFA opposes antisemitism and all forms of racism and hatred, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Working Definition of Antisemitism poses a serious threat to academic freedom in our University of Regina community.
The IHRA definition of antisemitism misconstrues antisemitism to include a broad range of criticism of the State of Israel. The IHRA definition thus undermines important anti-racist and decolonial initiatives in Canadian educational institutions. It can also be used to censor political speech and restrict the academic freedom of teachers and researchers who have developed critical perspectives on the policies and practices of the State of Israel. Such targeted attacks will have a chilling effect on the academic freedom of our members in the classroom, in their research, and in campus politics more broadly.