B’nai Brith Canada has expressed concern with the decidedly one-sided resolution adopted during the NDP's 2021 policy convention.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of antisemitism has been adopted by 30 countries, including Canada, as well as the provinces of Ontario and New Brunswick.
Opponents of the definition claimed that the definition was created to limit criticism of Israel, although the definition does affirm that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.”
Although the resolution attacking the IHRA Definition was ultimately not prioritized, a separate resolution that has been labelled as "anti-Israel" by B'nai Brith passed at the Convention, known as the Justice and Peace in Israel-Palestine Resolution.
The resolution reads:
Whereas Canada and Israel trade millions in arms facilitating an illegal occupation and the Canada-Israel Free Trade agreement violates international law and UNSC resolutions by encouraging illegal settlements; Oxfam & UN experts support banning settlement products as do Amnesty & the Canadian Labour Congress who additionally call to end arms sales....
[Be it resolved that the NDP believes in] working with partners for peace in Israel and Palestine, respecting UN resolutions and international law, supporting peaceful co-existence in viable, independent states with agreed-upon borders, an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and an end to violence targeting civilians. To that end: ending all trade and economic cooperation with illegal settlements in Israel-Palestine; suspending the bilateral trade of all arms and related materials with the State of Israel until Palestinian rights are upheld.
This resolution "further removes the party from any relevance in a serious discussion of redefining Canada’s place in the world,” B'nai Brith argued. It also alleged that the "sleight-of-hand language and deliberately vague terms" found in the resolution shifted the party towards the direction of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
“Sanity has prevailed, and a shameful attempt to manipulate the federal NDP against Canada’s Jewish community has been rightly rejected,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “The IHRA Working Definition is the global standard for combating Jew-hatred, and these attempts to undermine it ultimately undermine the struggle against antisemitism itself. At the same time, the NDP has missed an opportunity to make a balanced contribution by not calling for Palestinian leaders to respect the human rights of their citizens, for an end to Palestinian attacks on Israel, for an end to Hamas’ brutal control of the Gaza Strip, and for an end to hatred and incitement against Jews and the Jewish state in Palestinian education materials.”
“Had the NDP addressed in reasoned debate what all Canadians accept as pressing human rights concerns, they would have shown they are serious about a balanced foreign policy agenda,” said Brian Herman, B’nai Brith Canada’s Director of Government Relations. “Instead, the unhealthy preoccupation with Israel continued under the guise of helping Palestinians. This extended to support among some vocal NDP members for a resolution objecting to the IHRA Definition. All of this suggests the NDP has lost its sense of balance and realism.”
B'nai Brith alleged that the NDP has a "morbid preoccupation with Israel," which has overshadowed other human rights abuses with regard to the Uyghur population of China, and other such human rights abuses in Iran, Myanmar, Syria and Hong Kong