Montreal, QC – On May 17, a delegation of CIJA leadership, along with our partners from Federation CJA, met with the Minister responsible for the Fight Against Racism, Benoit Charette.
Several key issues were discussed including: the worldwide rise of antisemitism, including in Quebec, public safety, initiatives to combat antisemitism, the importance of education in the fight against hate and racism, and Quebec-Israel relations.
This meeting allowed us to present several concrete proposals from our community. Regarding funding for security infrastructures, we proposed a series of proposals, including a provincial financial assistance program for communities at risk. We have put forward strategies to strengthen the capacity to prosecute hate crimes in the courts. Our proposal to open a Quebec office in Israel was also discussed. The Minister reiterated his support for the Jewish community and his determination to fight against all forms of hatred and racism, including antisemitism.
Regarding antisemitism on university campuses, the Minister generously devoted time to meet with a group of young student leaders along with representatives of Hillel, FCJA and CIJA. The open exchange provided an opportunity for students to share their experiences with antisemitism and the climate of antisemitism on some campuses. The Minister affirmed the importance of ensuring a safe environment on our university campuses.
The delegation highlighted Minister Charette’s leadership in the fight against antisemitism and hate. The fact that the Quebec government has adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism and that the National Assembly passed a motion last summer strongly condemning the antisemitic actions of an extremist minority has reassured the Jewish community at a critical time.
The delegation included Gail Adelson-Marcovitz, Chair of CIJA’s National Board of Directors; Martin Rosenthal, President CIJA Quebec; Rabbi Reuben Poupko, outgoing Co-President CIJA Quebec; Steve Sebag, First Vice President, Federation CJA; Jacques Saada, President Communauté sépharade unifiée du Québec; Jason Caron, Board Member, CIJA Quebec; Larry Markowitz, Board Member, CIJA Quebec; Robert Presser, Board Member, CIJA Quebec; Eta Yudin, Vice President Quebec, CIJA; Karen Payne, Federation CJA; Pamela Teitelbaum, Chief Strategy & Impact Officer, Federation CJA.
Benoit Charette, Minister responsible for the Fight against Racism and Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change:“In the fight against racism and discrimination, it is essential to involve the entire population as all Quebecers have a role to play. I was pleased to hear the various suggestions of policies and initiatives from representatives of Quebec’s institutional Jewish community to counter racism and hate. Our government is a proud partner of the Jewish community and will continue to support it in the fight against antisemitism”.
Martin Rosenthal, President of CIJA Quebec:“We salute Minister Charette and the government for their leadership in the fight against Jew-hatred, which is the responsibility of all Quebecers. We are heartened by the fact that our elected officials understand the seriousness of the resurgence of Jew-hatred and that concrete action must be taken to stop it.”
Gail Adelson-Marcovitz, Chair of CIJA’s National Board of Directors, CIJA:“In Canada, as elsewhere, we are witnessing an alarming rise in antisemitism. In this context, it is important to recognize the political leadership of our elected officials who, through their actions, demonstrate that concrete steps must be taken to end Jew-hatred. We truly appreciated the opportunity to discuss these issues in person with Minister Charette, who led Quebec’s adoption of the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism, thus acquiring an important tool in the fight against antisemitism.”
Steve Sebag, Senior Vice President of Federation CJA:“With security, antisemitism and social justice issues in our community, combating antisemitism on campus remains a priority for Federation CJA. With Hillel and our advocacy agency, CIJA, our priority is to support university students. The meeting with Minister Charette was an important opportunity to put forward our proposals for concrete action in this regard. We are particularly pleased that the Minister was able to have an open discussion with students themselves. The Minister stressed the importance of ensuring that university campuses provide a safe and healthy environment for all students.”
Eta Yudin, CIJA’s Quebec Vice President:“The rise in antisemitism that we are witnessing, including an increase in both the frequency and severity of antisemitic incidents, must be reflected in the implementation of concrete security measures. This was an important opportunity for our community to engage with the Minister and move forward on some key initiatives. We will continue to confront antisemitism and prioritize progress on these issues.”