FSWC Commends Government Support for IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism

August 23, 2017


Earlier this summer, FSWC sent its news release entitled “European Union Strengthens Fight Against Anti-semitism – Welcomed by FSWC” to Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. The news release outlined the European Union resolution which seeks to strengthen Europe’s resolve to combat antisemitism and which requested that European nations adopt the working definition of antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).  In the release, FSWC called on the Canadian government to follow the EU parliament and formally adopt the working definition in order to help eliminate antisemitism in Canada.

This week, FSWC received a response from the Director of the Ministerial Correspondence Secretariat, on behalf of Minister Joly, expressing the government’s support for the IHRA working definition of antisemitism and the illustrative examples which expand the definition of antisemitism to include unfair criticisms of Israel and denying the Holocaust, among other forms of contemporary antisemitism. 

A portion of the letter from the Ministry of Heritage reads:

Canada has been a full member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, and served as its Chair from March 2013 to February 2014.  Canada strongly supports the working definition of anti-Semitism and the illustrative examples that were adopted by consensus in May 2016.

“The response we have received from the Government is a step in the right direction” said Avi Benlolo, President & CEO of FSWC.  “It is imperative that the IHRA working definition on antisemitism be adopted by all levels of government to formally recognize what constitutes modern antisemitism so that it can be identified in the hopes of eliminating this form of hatred in our communities across the country.”

FSWC continues to work with governments federally, provincially, and locally, to help educate lawmakers and facilitate the adoption of this definition of modern antisemitism.  One initiative we will be using to drive this message forward will be through our 3rd National Policy Conference on Holocaust Education, chaired by FSWC President & CEO Avi Benlolo, to be held on January 27th and 28th in recognition of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  The lineup of speakers will include renowned experts in the field of Holocaust and human rights education including the Hon. Irwin Cotler, Director Leibe Geft of the Museum of Tolerance and Professor Wendy Lower, Acting Director of the Jack, Joseph & Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. 

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