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August 16, 2020 9:48 am

Florida State University Adopts Universal Definition of Antisemitism

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The Florida State University campus, in Tallahassee, Florida. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – Florida State University has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, the school’s president announced on Wednesday.

“As a minority group, the Jewish people have faced bias and discrimination and have been marginalized for centuries. It is one of the oldest forms of bigotry and is as intolerable as all forms of hate,” said John Thrasher in a statement. “The United States, the State of Florida and Florida State University recognize the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism and its contemporary examples.”

The IHRA definition says: “Antisemitism is 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.”

Thrasher announced that FSU’s division of student affairs “will institute annual training for its staff surrounding antisemitism, religious discrimination and ways in which to foster a more inclusive campus for our Jewish students and employees.”

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He also said the university calendar has been updated to “capture all significant religious holidays, and we will work to increase understanding of these holidays across our campus.”

Additionally, the university “has re-established its Jewish Student Union and is creating a Jewish Alumni Network to provide enhanced support and educational resources for all our students,” according to Thrasher. “In the coming months, the university will hire a new student equity and inclusion director with consultation from various members of the university community including the Jewish community.”

Finally, Thrasher said, “I want to reaffirm that this is a top priority. My university leadership team and I will continue to work determinedly to combat antisemitism and unlawful behavior. While freedom of speech is of paramount importance on a college campus, so is creating a climate of acceptance and appreciation for the value and richness of the many cultures and ideas that make Florida State University such an excellent academic experience.”

Thrasher’s statement comes less than a month after FSU’s Student Government Association passed a resolution to adopt the IHRA definition in the aftermath of its senate president Ahmad Daraldik surviving a vote of no confidence in June, despite his antisemitic posts.

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