This Week in Canadian Jewish Advocacy, February 19, 2023

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|February 19, 2023
This Week in Canadian Jewish Advocacy

This week, we thanked Richmond City Council for taking a strong stand against Jew-hatred and all forms of hate, and we asked the federal government to keep its promise to Canadians.  

Read on to learn more. 

The CIJA Team  

In August 2022, it was revealed that funding from the Government of Canada for anti-racism programming had gone to Laith Marouf – an individual with a long, public history of antisemitic and racist outbursts.

At CIJA, we were appalled by this lapse. We took our concerns to the federal government and worked closely with the Minister for Diversity and Inclusion to ensure this never recurs.

Based on our recommendations, Canadian Heritage promised to cease funding and claw back previously distributed funds to Marouf and his organization, engage in a comprehensive review and enhancement of the government’s vetting processes for grant applicants, improve training on antisemitism and racism for government program officers, and add grantee attestation to all funding agreements to hold groups accountable to Canada’s anti-racism strategy, among other criteria, which would allow for immediate action should a receiving organization be found to have promoted hate.

This week, the Heritage Committee convened to explore the missteps that led to government funding going to Marouf and confirm measures have been implemented to ensure that another situation like that does not happen again.

While we are confident that the government is intentional in its efforts to get to the bottom of this errant funding, the problem goes beyond a single program or organization. We reiterated our asks for a whole-of-government approach to ensure public funds are never again allotted to groups that platform hate and for assurances that the government is taking steps to keep the promises made to CIJA and the Jewish community.

We join the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver in celebrating Richmond City Council’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Association’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.  Read our full statement here

This historic announcement marked the culmination of years of advocacy by Richmond’s Jewish community leaders, in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver and CIJA. The decision to adopt the IHRA definition follows examples set by the UN, the EU, and 30 countries, including Canada and the US. The adoption of IHRA signals that Richmond City Council recognizes the struggles faced by the Jewish community and that it stands in solidarity against Jew-hatred and all forms of hate.

Please send Mayor Brodie, Councillor Alexa Loo, and Richmond City Council a note of thanks for adopting this gold-standard tool to define antisemitism and for their commitment to apply it to government policies and actions.

Send a note of thanks.

‘My hope for 2023 is that the Canadian jurisdictions that have not yet adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism will do so, and that the ones that have adopted it begin to implement and use it.’

Published in the National Post, Irwin Cotler, Canada’s special envoy for preserving Holocaust remembrance and combating antisemitism and a former minister of justice and attorney general, urges governments and institutions across Canada to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism, explaining its critical role in the fight against Jew-hatred.

Read in the National Post.

CIJA in the News 

The Zoomer – The Rise of Antisemitism, A Panel Discussion (Zoomer Television)

Nick Logan discusses the how antisemitic tropes are being used to target the LGBTQ community (CBC Radio, 01:26:15)

Tahir: Stop politicking and fight Islamophobia (London Free Press, + Postmedia Syndication)

Laith Marouf once barred from re-entering Canada, interviewed by CSIS (Globe and Mail)

Inquiétude après deux incendies suspects dans un camp de vacances juif du Pontiac (Radio-Canada)

Bulletin de nouvelles du dimanche 12 février 2023 (Le Téléjournal Ottawa-Gatineau – Radio-Canada, 3:30)

Canadian Heritage changes vetting process for anti-racism funds after nixing contract (National Post, The Globe and Mail, + Canadian press Syndication)

Dutch survivor shares his story (Jewish Independent)

City of Richmond in British Columbia, Canada, adopts IHRA definition (JNS)

Community Calendar

March 2 | The Abraham Accords: A Turning Point in the Legal World
March 5-6 | Purim 


CIJA is Hiring:

Chief Executive Officer, Jewish Federation of Winnipeg

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations across Canada

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The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA, representing Jewish Federations across Canada.