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Open University adoption of IHRA and JDA definitions of Antisemitism

​​​Following approval by Senate and Council, the OU has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism and the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA) as a guide to interpreting and understanding antisemitism.

The OU is committed to upholding the law on racial discrimination, including our responsibilities under the Equality Act to have due regard to eliminating discrimination, advancing equality of opportunity, and fostering good relations. Antisemitism is one example of completely unacceptable discrimination and our commitment extends to all forms of discrimination and harassment. The IHRA working definition and JDA do not affect the legal definition of racial discrimination and does not change the OU's approach to meeting our legal duties and responsibilities.

The OU's Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom recognises that all members of the University have freedom within the law to hold and express opinions, question and test established ideas, develop and advance new ideas, and present controversial or unpopular points of view, acting with courtesy and respect to others. Our commitment to academic freedom is fundamental and views presented in a manner consistent with these principles would not be deemed antisemitic. 

At the OU, we acknowledge the different forms that antisemitism takes and are committed to implementing the principles of the OU's equality scheme to combat anti-Jewish prejudice in all its forms. 

The adoption of the IHRA Working Definition on Antisemitism and JDA are an important development in the pursuit of the OU's vision to create an inclusive University community, a society where people are treated with dignity and respect and where inequalities are challenged. 

First published: 02/06/2021