Walid Tamtam
Walid Tamtam
"Future Nobel Prize Winner"

The University of Texas taking the right step

Recently, the University of Texas (UT) adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. This definition works to protect Jewish students on campus from the modern demonstration of anti-Semitism. As a Muslim student, I am well aware of the horrific discrimination that our Jewish neighbors have been put through. I applaud the University of Texas for taking action to protect Jewish students and to create a welcoming and inclusive campus where students deserve to feel safe.

The University of Texas Campus Pictured (CNN)

For years, I have seen my Jewish peers endure ridicule and criticism in the name of political debate. The IHRA recognizes that legitimate criticisms of the government of Israel are not inherently anti-Semitic, but holding Jews around the world responsible for the actions of Israel is. The demonization of the Jewish state and the Jewish people cannot be brushed off as a political discussion of the issues in Israel. Hateful discrimination must be recognized. I am glad that UT understands that anti-Semitism is a plague that affects Jewish students in dire ways and has taken action to protect them.

Witnessing the modern forms of anti-Semitism is disturbing and does nothing to benefit the Arab people. Our goal has always been to unite, and this kind of anti-Jewish hatred only works to break down any progress that has been made towards unifying our two peoples. UT’s adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is a first step in the fight against this discrimination, but it cannot end here. We must act to have the IHRA’s definition widely adopted and accepted. Without it, ugly anti-Semitism will only continue to grow. The IHRA provides guidelines and interpretations of what modern anti-Semitism looks like and how we can combat it.

We must all work together to fight against this form of discrimination, which causes Jewish communities to live in fear every day. Countries, establishments, universities, and all the alike MUST work to adopt the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism. I am grateful UT has taken this important step to educate students and fight this evil where it occurs. Its time to continue the steps of UT to combat anti-Semitism on campus and allow our students the right to be in a safe campus space to excel, where anti-Semitism is tackled, people thrive, this is true in the Muslim world and no different in North American campuses

About the Author
Walid Tamtam is a Muslim Canadian Student at the University of Toronto, growing up hailing from a Moroccan background in schools, sports, and other familiar social environments, anti-semitism seemed to be acceptable if not encouraged. Since 2019, Walid decided to act on his experience to better equip both the Jewish/Pro-Israel community and the Non-Jewish community with the tools to fight hate, polarization and come together. He regularly writes on issues happening on campuses all over North America, and issues around the world, primarily pertaining to Arab-Israel relations.
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