Press Release: CIJA Applauds Integration of IHRA Definition Into Canada’s New Anti-Racism Strategy

Press Release: CIJA Applauds Integration of IHRA Definition Into Canada’s New Anti-Racism Strategy

TORONTO, ON

Today, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, Pablo Rodríguez, announced that the Government of Canada will be adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism as part of its anti-racism strategy.

In response, Joel Reitman, Co-Chair of the CIJA Board of Directors, issued the following:

“Peddlers of antisemitism must be held accountable, but this can only happen if authorities can clearly and consistently identify acts of Jew hatred.

“This is why CIJA has been calling on all three levels of government to use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. The IHRA definition – which has been adopted by dozens of democratic countries – is a vital tool in countering the global rise in antisemitism”

Jeffrey Rosenthal, 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.”

Additional Background

  • In 2016, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) plenary – of which Canada is a member – adopted a working definition of antisemitism and list of illustrative examples.
  • Statistics Canada data consistently confirms that the Jewish community is the most frequently targeted minority when it comes to hate crime. In 2017, Statistics Canada reported 360 hate crimes targeting the Jewish community – an average of once every 24 hours.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of the Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA
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