Vancouver City Council Adopts IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

Profile picture for 60847
|November 16, 2022

Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver and CIJA applaud the adoption of framework to identify, understand, and combat antisemitism

Vancouver, BC – November 16, 2022 – Today, Vancouver City Council became the latest Canadian jurisdiction to adopt or commit to using the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. 

The decision received support from organized Jewish community representatives, including both the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).

“Defining antisemitism is an essential step towards recognizing its manifestations and being able to counteract it,” said Shimon Koffler Fogel, President and CEO, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. “Today’s adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism by Mayor Ken Sim and Vancouver City Council is a clear stand against the rise in acts of hatred against members of the Jewish community.”

The IHRA working definition of antisemitism is the consensus that best reflects lived experiences of Jews today. Developed by IHRA’s Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial, the definition is grounded in the research of the world’s foremost experts on antisemitism and the Holocaust. It is supported by the United Nations, the European Union, and 30 countries, including the United States and Canada.

“History has repeatedly shown, what begins as hatred of Jews never ends as hatred of Jews. Canadians must stand united with the Jewish community in the fight against antisemitism,” continued Fogel. “The decision made by Vancouver City Council today is a victory for all who stand against hate – no matter which group is the immediate target.

As antisemitic incidents continue to rise across the country, the IHRA definition of antisemitism provides policymakers, law enforcement, and community leaders an effective framework to identify and combat contemporary forms of antisemitism in all spheres of public life.

“Today, Mayor Sim and the vast majority of Vancouver City Council sent a strong message that antisemitism has no place in society,” said Ezra Shanken, CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver. “To combat antisemitism effectively, it must first be defined. The IHRA definition will help the people of Vancouver identify and combat antisemitism in all its forms. The rise of antisemitic hate crimes across the country has meant that fighting antisemitism must be a priority for all Vancouverites and Canadians, not just members of the Jewish community.”

Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung introduced the motion to adopt the IHRA definition.

“Nobody should have to live in fear because of who they are. It was an honour to bring this motion forward to adopt the IHRA working definition of antisemitism,” said Vancouver City Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung. “We stand united with Vancouver’s Jewish community in the ongoing fight against antisemitism and the troubling rise of hate incidents in our city.”

“The best means to combat hate is through education, and the IHRA definition can help foster a deeper level of understanding,” continued Kirby-Yung. “Education is more powerful than any punitive actions could ever be.”

“We are proud to stand with the Jewish community both in Vancouver and around the world,” said Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim. “Antisemitism has no place in our city, and today we take an important step towards building a more inclusive and safe society for all.”

Learn more about the IHRA definition of antisemitism here.


Stay In the Know!

Get all the latest information from our newsletter, "This Week in Canadian Jewish Advocacy."

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA, representing Jewish Federations across Canada. By clicking "Sign up," you consent to receive periodic updates from CIJA. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Le Centre consultatif des relations juives et israéliennes (CIJA) est l'agence de représentation de Fédérations juives du Canada - UIA, représentant les fédérations juives à travers le Canada. En cliquant sur  «  Sign up , »  vous acceptez de recevoir des mises à jour périodiques de CIJA. Vous pouvez vous désabonner à tout moment.
Profile picture for 60847
About CIJA
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA, representing Jewish Federations across Canada.
Leave a comment
Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.