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Press Release: CIJA Disappointed by Postponement of Adoption of Antisemitism Definition

Jul 24, 2019 | CIJA Publications, Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 23, 2019

Press Release: CIJA Disappointed by Postponement of Adoption of Antisemitism Definition

Vancouver, BC – Today, the Vancouver City Council voted to refer to committee a resolution to combat antisemitism in Vancouver, which included the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, by a vote of 6-5.

In response, Nico Slobinsky, Director, Pacific Region, CIJA issued the following:

“Today’s postponement of the motion to combat antisemitism is an unfortunate setback in the struggle against racism and bigotry. Data released this week by Statistics Canada reveals that the hate crime rate in Vancouver is now higher than Toronto and Montreal, with Jewish residents remaining the most frequent target. By delaying the initiative to protect Jewish community members at a time of rising antisemitism, those councillors who voted against the motion are on the wrong side of history.

“Our community will not be silent about the dangerous growth of Jew hatred in our city. We will continue working to raise awareness and counter antisemitism using the IHRA definition as a key tool.”

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

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Background: 

  • According to Statistics Canada, hate crimes against the Jewish community rose by more than 60 percent between 2016 and 2017. In British Columbia, antisemitic hate crime increased by 500% in the same year.
  • The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism now constitutes the world’s most widely accepted definition of antisemitism, having been endorsed or adopted by dozens of countries and bodies – including the UK, US, EU, France, Germany, and Greece.
  • CIJA Policy Brief: Defining Antisemitism and the IHRA definition
  • 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. In 2019, the Government of Canada integrated the IHRA definition into its anti-racism strategy.

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