The British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES), Britain’s leading academic organisation for the study of the Middle East, issued a statement expressing its profound concern about the pressure applied on universities by the government to adopt the IHRA definition. A group of British academics who are also Israeli citizens sent a letter signed by 110 Israeli academics outside the UK, many of them in Israel itself, to university vice chancellors.
The letter was rejected or ignored by no less than 12 national newspapers and media outlets. “We were rather surprised and disappointed that not a single national paper saw fit to publish our letter or to report our initiative,” writes Shlaim. He insists that universities in the UK must have autonomy to oversee and regulate all activities on their campuses, free from external interference.