Adopted By Canada – June 2019
In the spirit of the Stockholm Declaration that states, “With humanity still scarred by …antisemitism and xenophobia the international community shares a solemn responsibility to fight those evils,” the committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial called the IHRA Plenary in Budapest 2015 to adopt the following working definition of antisemitism.
On 26 May 2016, the Plenary in Bucharest decided to:
Adopt the following non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish ornon-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
To guide IHRA in its work, the following examples may serve as illustrations:Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.
Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:
Antisemitic acts are criminal when they are so defined by law (for example, denial of the Holocaust or distribution of antisemitic materials in some countries).
Criminal acts are antisemitic when the targets of attacks, whether they are people or property – such as buildings, schools, places of worship and cemeteries – are selected because they are, or are perceived to be, Jewish or linked to Jews.
Antisemitic discrimination is the denial to Jews of opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in many countries.
We, Representatives of our respective Parliaments from across the world, convening in Ottawa for the second Conference and Summit of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism, note and reaffirm the London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism as a template document for the fight against antisemitism.
We are concerned that, since the London Conference in February 2009, there continues to be adramatic increase in recorded antisemitic hate crimes and attacks targeting Jewish persons and property, and Jewish religious, educational and communal institutions.
We remain alarmed by ongoing state-sanctioned genocidal antisemitism and related extremist ideologies. If antisemitism is the most enduring of hatreds, and genocide is the most horrific of crimes, then the convergence of the genocidal intent embodied in antisemitic ideology is the most toxic of combinations.
We are appalled by the resurgence of the classic anti-Jewish libels, including:
We are alarmed by the explosion of antisemitism and hate on the Internet, a medium crucial for the promotion and protection of freedom of expression, freedom of information, and the participation of civil society.
We are concerned over the failure of most OSCE participating states to fully implement provisions of the 2004 Berlin Declaration, including the commitment to:
"Collect and maintain reliable information and statistics about antisemitic crimes, and other hate crimes, committed within their territory, report such information periodically to the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), and make this information available to the public."
We are concerned by the reported incidents of antisemitism on campuses, such as acts of violence, verbal abuse, rank intolerance, and assaults on those committed to free inquiry, while undermining fundamental academic values.
We renew our call for national governments, parliaments, international institutions, political and civic leaders, NGOs, and civil society to affirm democratic and human values, build societies based on respect and citizenship and combat any manifestations of antisemitism and all form sof discrimination.
We reaffirm the EUMC - now Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) - working definition of antisemitism, which sets forth that:
"Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:
Examples of the ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel taking into account the overall context could include:
Let it be clear: Criticism of Israel is not antisemitic, and saying so is wrong. But singling Israel out for selective condemnation and opprobrium - let alone denying its right to exist or seeking its destruction - is discriminatory and hateful, and not saying so is dishonest.
Members of Parliament meeting in Ottawa commit to:
Calling on our governments to uphold international commitments on combating antisemitism -such as the OSCE Berlin Principles - and to engage with the United Nations for that purpose. In the words of former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, "It is [...] rightly said that the United Nations emerged from the ashes of the Holocaust. And a human rights agenda that fails to address antisemitism denies its own history";Calling on parliaments and governments to adopt the EUMC working definition and anchor its enforcement in existing law;
Encouraging countries throughout the world to establish mechanisms for reporting and monitoring on domestic and international antisemitism, along the lines of the "Combating Antisemitism Act of 2010" recently introduced in the United States Congress;
Encouraging the leaders of all religious faiths - represented also at this Conference - to use all means possible to combat antisemitism and all forms of hatred and discrimination;
Calling on the Parliamentary Forum of the Community of Democracies to make the combating of hatred and antisemitism a priority in their work;
Calling on Governments and Parliamentarians to reaffirm and implement the Genocide Convention, recognising that where there is incitement to genocide, State parties have an obligation to act;
Working with universities to encourage them to combat antisemitism with the same seriousness with which they confront other forms of hate. Specifically, universities should be invited to define antisemitism clearly, provide specific examples, and enforce conduct codes firmly, while ensuring compliance with freedom of speech and the principle of academic freedom.Universities should use the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism as a basis for education,training and orientation. Indeed, there should be zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind against anyone in the university community on the basis of race, gender, religion, ethnic origin,sexual orientation or political position;
We encourage the European Union to promote civic education and open society in its European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and to link funding to democratic development and respect for human rights in ENP partner countries;
Establishing an International Task Force of Internet specialists comprised of parliamentarians and experts to create common indicators to identify and monitor antisemitism and other manifestations of hate online and to develop policy recommendations for Governments and international frameworks to address these problems;
Building on the African representation at this Conference, to develop increased working relationships with Parliamentarians in Africa for the combating of racism and antisemitism;
We urge the incoming OSCE Chair, Lithuania, to make implementation of these commitments a priority during 2011 and call for the reappointment of the Special Representatives to assist in this work.
09/21/2011 10:12 EDT | Updated 11/21/2011 05:12 EST
In announcing the Ottawa Protocol to Combat Anti-Semitism, Foreign Minister John Baird expressed Canada's unequivocal support for the State of Israel. Canada's stance on Israel is based on the principle of standing by your friends -- especially when they are democracies and advocates for human rights.
Avi Benlolo President and CEO, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, Canada
The government of Canada took an historic step yesterday by signing the Ottawa Protocol to Combat Anti-Semitism. By doing so, it recognized anti-Semitism as a pernicious evil and a global threat against the Jewish people, the State of Israel and free, democratic countries everywhere.As Prime Minister Stephen Harper has noted, "Those who would hate and destroy the Jewish people would ultimately hate and destroy the rest of us as well."
The protocol is a declaration that hatred of this nature will not be tolerated in this country. It sets out an action plan for supporting initiatives that combat anti-Semitism and provides a framework for other nations to follow.
It also sets out a vibrant definition of anti-Semitism which, for the first time in history, link santi-Semitism to the denial of the right Jewish people have to their ancestral home land -- the State of Israel. This, in fact, is what sets post-World War Two anti-Semitism apart from its historic roots. Today's anti-Semitism is all about denial: denial of the legitimacy of Zionism as a Jewish movement to reclaim the land of Israel; denial of a Jewish history in connection to the holy land and, in particular, the centrality of Jerusalem to the Jewish people; denial of the Holocaust (while at the same time accusing Jews of Nazism); and denial of Jews to live free of anti-Semitism, hate and intolerance.
In announcing the Protocols, Foreign Minister John Baird has expressed his government's unequivocal support for the State of Israel. In referring to this week's turmoil at the United Nations and the Palestinian threat to unilaterally declare a state, Baird said, "Canada will not stand behind Israel at the United Nations, we will stand right beside it. It is never a bad thing to do the right thing."
According to Baird, more and more countries are refusing to participate in the UN conference dubbed "Durban III" -- otherwise known as an anti-Semitic hate fest which began as a human rights forum in South Africa in 2001; the forum ultimately degenerated into an anti-Semitic slinging match in which repressive Arab and African countries blamed all the problems facing their own countries and the world on Israel. The governments of France, New Zealand and Poland (today) joined Canada and 10 other western nations this week by declaring they will not take part.
Unquestionably, the Government of Canada's stance on Israel is based on the principle of standing by your friends -- especially when they are democracies and advocates for human rights. Most Jewish leaders would agree that Israel is indeed Canada's greatest ally in the fight against hate and intolerance.
But the fight against hatred and anti-Semitism must be won here in Canada as well. The Ottawa Protocol is mostly the result of a report published this summer by a Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism which was comprised of leading Canadian politicians who volunteered their time to probe the increasing and alarming tide of anti-Semitism in Canada.
In a letter accompanying the report, Chairs of the Inquiry Panel and the Steering Committee Mario Silva and Scott Reid wrote, "The Inquiry Panel's conclusion, unfortunately, is that the scourge of anti-Semitism is a growing threat in Canada, especially on the campuses of our universities." The report cites numerous examples of anti-Semitism on various campuses including the infamous incident in 2009 when Jewish students at York University were chased and barricaded themselves in the Hillel lounge while a mob outside taunted them with anti Semitic slurs. The list of examples is quite long and disturbing.
Universities should take note of the report and the signing of the Ottawa Protocols. They should put an immediate end to hateful and fallacious events like Israeli Apartheid Week; they should state unequivocally that freedom of speech should not be abused to provide a cover for anti Semitism; they should ensure that Jewish students feel welcome on campus and that their learning environment should be freed from anti-Israel occurrences and finally, universities must become accountable for allowing their private property to be venues for hateful conduct among students.
The Ottawa Protocol to Combat Anti-Semitism is a template for every Canadian to consider. But it is especially a document of significance for universities that have allowed themselves to become vehicles of hatred and complicit in its promotion. As my friend, Professor Irwin Cotler said last night at the Ottawa signing ceremony, anti-Semitism is not only the longest known form of hatred in the history of humanity -- it is the only form of hatred that is truly global.
Every person of conscience should take note of the Ottawa Protocols and never forget the lessons of the Holocaust when the world was silent.