The flags of Israel and Canada.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, Pablo Rodríguez, announced on Tuesday that the Canadian government intends to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism as part of its anti-racism strategy.
The Canadian "Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs" (CIJA) applauded the decision.
Co-Chair of the CIJA Board of Directors, Joel Reitman said in response, "Peddlers of antisemitism must be held accountable, but this can only happen if authorities can clearly and consistently identify acts of Jew hatred."
According to Canadian statistics, antisemitism constitutes the highest proportion of hate crimes in Canada. In 2017, Statistics Canada reported 360 hate crimes that targeted the Jewish community.
Jeffrey Rosenthal, also Co-Chair of the CIJA Board of Directors, added, “This is a major milestone in the struggle against antisemitism. It sets a strong example and offers a practical tool for authorities – from police and prosecutors, to school principals and campus officials – as they work to tackle antisemitism on the ground across Canada.
"The IHRA definition also explicitly recognizes that anti-Zionism – that is the delegitimization and demonization of the Jewish state – is a clear and unequivocal expression of antisemitism. The definition states clearly that Jew hatred includes applying antisemitic slurs to Israel, denying the Jewish people’s legitimate right to self-determination, accusing Israelis of blood libels, and holding Israel to double standards. The IHRA definition also recognizes that, like any democracy, criticism of Israeli policy is not antisemitic. But calling into question the right of the Jewish people to self-determination is.”
The IHRA's definition now constitutes most widely accepted definition of antisemitism in the world, having been endorsed or adopted by dozens of countries and organizations including the UK, the US, and EU.
President of NGO Monitor Prof. Gerald Steinberg responded, “Canada adopting IHRA's definition of antisemitism is an important symbolic and declaratory move. We hope that the next steps will pertain to its implementation within Canadian policy, including regarding Canadian international aid and support of NGOs.”
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