Canada to adopt Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism
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Canada to adopt Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism

Heritage and Multiculturalism Minister Pablo Rodríguez says decision is part of the government’s anti-racism strategy; B’nai Brith welcomes ‘step in the right direction’

A Canadian flag flies in the wind  in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on July 25, 2016.  (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images/JTA)
A Canadian flag flies in the wind in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on July 25, 2016. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images/JTA)

The Canadian government will adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism.

Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism Pablo Rodríguez made the announcement on Tuesday, saying the decision is part of the government’s anti-racism strategy, the $45 million Foundation for Change: Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019–2022.

The IHRA working definition offers a comprehensive description of anti-Semitism in its various forms, including hatred and discrimination against Jews, Holocaust denial and, sometimes controversially, the way anti-Semitism relates to the ways criticism of Israel is expressed.

B’nai Brith Canada in a statement called the adoption of the definition “a step in the right direction and something that has long been advocated by B’nai Brith as necessary in identifying and, ultimately, combating anti-Semitism.”

“We will be looking for concrete actions, however, to give its implementation substance and meaning,” the statement also said, noting that it would write to Rodriguez with specific ideas.

NGO Monitor president, Gerald Steinberg, said in a statement that “Canada adopting IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism 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.” Steinberg noted that his organization has “identified Canadian funding that was making its way to actors supportive of BDS as well as theological antisemitism.”

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