ACF-Harvard Calls on Presidential Task Force to Adopt IHRA

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Complete this form to sign the petition and send an email to the Presidential Task Force.

Dear Harvard University Presidential Task Force on Combating Antisemitism:

We urge the Presidential Task Force on Combating Antisemitism to endorse and recommend that Harvard University adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism (IHRA), including its 11 examples of anti-Jewish hate. 

In doing so, Harvard will join over 1,100 entities worldwide that have adopted or endorsed IHRA, including national, regional, and local governments, multinational corporations, NGOs, other non-profits, 360 colleges and universities in the United States and abroad, and more than 50 major American Jewish organizations. Because antisemitic hatred manifests itself in many ways, a broadly agreed-upon standard is needed in order to understand clearly when expressions and actions are and are not antisemitic. The IHRA definition is overwhelmingly recognized as that standard. 

By adopting IHRA, Harvard will:

- Establish for the first time the basis upon which it systematically can identify and confront antisemitism at the university 

- Demonstrate Harvard’s commitment to combating all forms of antisemitism, including Holocaust denial and delegitimization of Israel as the Jewish state

- Be able to provide training to help students, faculty, and administrative staff understand and recognize manifestations of contemporary antisemitism

- Improve consistent reporting of antisemitic incidents and enable comparison of prevention and intervention programs, thereby enhancing their efficacy

Although critics of IHRA claim it suppresses free speech and academic freedom, such criticism is unfounded. The definition states explicitly that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.” 

The adoption of IHRA is a crucial first step Harvard must take to restore a safe and inclusive campus culture that prioritizes intellectual discourse over confirmation bias and mutual respect over intolerance. We ask the Presidential Task Force, administration, and governing bodies to move forward with its adoption.

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