Prominent Universities To Host Conference Denouncing Antisemitism Definition, ‘Settler Colonial State’ Of Israel

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Kate Anderson Contributor
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Two prominent universities are hosting a conference to discuss how the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which was drafted and supported by 31 countries in 2016, supports “repressive power and state violence,” according to the event’s website.

The Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism’s (ICSZ) conference “Battling the ‘IHRA definition’: Theory and Activism” is set to be held on Oct. 13 – 14 at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) and the New York University (NYU) School of Law, according to the event page. The conference will host six panels with a range of academics and activists who are committed to fighting against the IHRA definition. (RELATED: City Surveilled Rabbi’s House For Hosting Religious Gatherings, Lawyers Say)

“Sessions will explore the political, historical, and cultural conditions that enable IHRA campaigns, and share theoretical insights and organizing tools to support resistance,” the event page reads. “This event focuses on North American academia, government, and institutions while additionally mapping the ways IHRA is making incursions internationally.”

The IHRA definition was drafted and accepted in 2016, according to the State Department, and defines antisemitism as anything that creates “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.”

“Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities,” the definition further elaborates. The IHRA also noted that antisemitism can manifest itself in the unfair “targeting of the state of Israel” beyond criticism that could be considered normal for any country.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 25: A New York University (NYU) flag flies outside a Covid-19 test tent outside of the NYU business school on August 25, 2020, in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Potential attendees and sponsors are asked to “confirm their agreement” with the ICSZ’s “points of unity,” according to the event page. The points include the belief that “Israel is a settler colonial state” just like the U.S. and a “racial project.”

Another point claims that academic research should not be neutral and argues that “neither studying or criticizing Zionism is anti-Jewish,” according to the website.

“The Institute’s research aims to interrogate and intervene in racism, colonialism, ethnic cleansing, and the appropriation of liberatory rhetoric by repressive political forces, among other harms,” the group explains.

One of the members of the planning collective for the conference is Rabab Abdulhadi, founding director and senior scholar of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies Program at San Francisco State University, according to the event page. Abdulhadi has been repeatedly criticized for allegedly antisemitic comments about Israel and Jews who support Zionism, and for inviting individuals with known associations with the terrorist groups the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad to speak on campus, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Both schools have come under public scrutiny for several antisemitic incidents over the past couple of years. In 2015, UCSC ranked number 5 in the nation for schools with the worst antisemitism problem despite having large Jewish populations, according to a report from the AMCHA Initiative, a Jewish advocacy organization.

In May, the UCSC chancellor released a statement condemning an antisemitic incident involving students who held a birthday party for Adolf Hitler, CNN reported. In 2022, students with the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at NYU School of Law released a statement, arguing that Palestinians have a right to “resist their violent occupation … [and] are not obligated to engage in racialized ‘nonviolence’ theory,” according to a letter obtained by the Free Beacon.

NYU Law, UCSC, Abdulhadi and ICSZ did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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