University of Queensland lecturer Joel Katzav. (Glenn Hunt)

Universities urged to adopt global definition of anti-Semitism

Jewish community leaders are urging universities to adopt a ­global definition of anti-Semitism put forward by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance after a Queensland lecturer was subjected to anti-Semitic complaints by a student.

The lecturer, Joel Katzav, has lodged a complaint against the University of Queensland with the Australian Human Rights Commission over its handling of the student’s complaint about him. Dr Katzav was subsequently removed from a research review panel.

The postdoctoral student accused him of being “professionally inappropriate” and biased because of a falsely perceived reverence in Israel for 19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. He was accused of “whitewashing” Nietzsche, whose views are often associated with fascism and Nazism.

The Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies and Zionist Federation of Australia said similar incidents of anti-Semitism were on the rise, particularly within universities. They urged UQ and other tertiary education providers to adopt the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism, which was endorsed last year by Scott Morrison.

Former education minister Alan Tudge had also urged universities to adopt the definition.

ZFA president Jeremy Leibler said the allegations raised by Dr Katzav appeared to be very serious and needed to be appropriately acknowledged by UQ.

“Anti-Semitism is on the rise around the world and in Australia,” he said.

Read the article by Charlie Peel in The Australian.