B’nai Brith Expresses Concerns to Jagmeet Singh about NDP's Definition of Antisemitism
B’nai Brith Canada has expressed its concern to NDP leader Jagmeet Singh about riding association motions that have recommended that the party oppose the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.
B’nai Brith Canada believes this move may precede an effort at the party convention next month to have the IHRA definition of antisemitism rejected nationally.
According to IHRA, 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 or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” It has been adopted by 29 countries, including Canada and is ensconced in our country's federal anti-racism strategy
“We urge Mr. Singh to ensure that resolutions rejecting the IHRA definition of antisemitism are, themselves, rejected. This definition is critical for addressing the growing antisemitism in our midst,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “Indeed, it should be forthrightly accepted by the New Democratic Party as a signal of reassurance to Canadians generally and to Canada’s Jewish community in particular.”
“There have been efforts by some to mischaracterize this consensus definition and its examples, by claiming it is being used by ‘the Israel lobby’ to silence critics of the Israeli government. These interpretations are refuted by the facts,” said Brian Herman, B’nai Brith Canada’s Director of Government Relations. “The IHRA definition does not stifle legitimate criticism of Israel – and it explicitly states as much. Rather, as a non-legally binding and working definition, it facilitates how to distinguish antisemitic rhetoric from legitimate political discourse.”
IHRA states that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic" and does not seek to infringe on free speech.