Contradictory Messages Show that IHRA Remains A Threat to Free Speech in Ontario

Montreal, November 3, 2020  — New statements from Ontario MPPs suggest that when Ontario suddenly adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, that it also adopted the IHRA’s controversial “illustrative examples” which conflate Israel and Zionism with antisemitism. This contradicts previous claims by Ontario MPP Kaleed Rasheed, who had told Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) and other civil society organizations in a Zoom meeting that the examples had been excluded. CJPME warns that the IHRA definition therefore continues to be major threat to free speech, political expression, and academic freedom in Ontario. Continue reading

Joint Statement on the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism in Ontario

On October 26th, 2020, the Government of Ontario unilaterally adopted the controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism (IHRA-WDA) by means of Order in Council 1450/2020. This move occurred just prior to public hearings on Bill 168 – a private Member’s bill which would have written the IHRA-WDA, including its problematic list of illustrative examples, into law. Bill 168 therefore appears to have been abandoned.  While we raise serious concerns with regards to process and note that much remains to be understood about the implications of the Order in Council, it would appear that the outcome of all this amounts to a partial win for defenders of human rights and freedom of expression.  Continue reading

Conservative MPP Confirms that Ontario’s Adoption of IHRA Excludes Harmful “Illustrative Examples”

Montreal, October 30, 2020 — Conservative Ontario MPP Kaleed Rasheed (Mississauga East—Cooksville) has confirmed that Ontario’s recent Order in Council (OIC) adopted only the main text of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, and that the associated “illustrative examples” were deliberately excluded. In a Zoom meeting with CJPME and other community groups, Rasheed stated: “Rest assured, the definition as adopted by the Order in Council does not include the IHRA definition’s ‘illustrative examples.’” This is significant because over half of the IHRA’s illustrative examples mention Israel or Zionism, and therefore conflate antisemitism with most forms of criticism and protest of Israel. Continue reading

Canadian Organizations Call on Canada to Maintain Support for Palestinian Self-Determination at UN

As the UN General Assembly gears up for a series of votes on 16 annual resolutions in support of Palestinian human rights, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) and the Coalition of Canadian Palestinian Organizations (CCPO) are calling on the Canadian government to repeat last year’s vote in favour of Palestinian self-determination. Continue reading

CJPME Condemns Doug Ford for Anti-Democratic Move to Protect Israel from Criticism

Montreal, October 27, 2020  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) condemns Doug Ford’s Ontario Government for pulling the plug on democracy in an attempt to protect Israel from criticism. This afternoon, Ford circumvented public opinion by unilaterally adopting the controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism through an Order-In-Council, even as Bill 168 (which would have adopted IHRA) was entering the stage of public input and debate. Continue reading

CJPME Settlement with Rebel Media in Defamation Lawsuit

Montreal, October 27, 2020 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is pleased to announce that its defamation lawsuit with Ezra Levant and Rebel Media News Network Ltd. has been settled. Launched in 2016, CJPME’s suit was based on a series of defamatory publications released by Rebel Media that attacked CJPME for its promotion of the BDS campaign. BDS, standing for “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions,” is an international movement to apply economic pressure on Israel such that it fully respects the human rights of Palestinians. Rebel Media’s publications accused CJPME of anti-Semitism, comparing CJPME to Nazis and calling CJPME “Jew-baiters.” The publications also called for CJPME to be stripped of its charitable status, although CJPME has never had charitable status. Continue reading

Survey: Canadians Reject Efforts to Brand Criticism and Protest of Israel as Antisemitic

Montreal, October 7, 2020  — Newly published results from a survey conducted by EKOS Research Associates show that Canadians do not support efforts to conflate support for Palestinian human rights with anti-Jewish prejudice. The survey found that the majority of Canadians believe that criticism and protest of Israel, even when harsh, is not in principle antisemitic. Continue reading

CJPME Condemns Detention of Carleton PhD Student in Turkey

Montreal, September 28, 2020  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) adds its voice to those calling for the release of Cihan Erdal, a queer youth activist and PhD student at Carleton University in Ottawa who was detained in Turkey along with 81 other pro-Kurdish activists, academics, and politicians. Continue reading

CJPME Letter to University of Toronto Faculty of Law, re: Dr. Azarova

Letter to the University of Toronto Faculty of Law regarding the revocation of a job offer to Dr. Azarova due to her scholarship on Israel's occupation of Palestine, September 25, 2020. Continue reading

CJPME Condemns Anti-Palestinian Prejudice at the U of T

Montreal, September 23, 2020  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is alarmed by recent actions of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law that amount to censorship of critical scholarship about Israel. The university has been widely criticized for allegedly rescinding a job offer to human rights professor Valentina Azarova after a sitting judge on the Tax Court of Canada — and a major donor to the faculty — complained about Azarova’s scholarship on the Israeli occupation of Palestine. According to the Globe and Mail, the judge who intervened is Justice David Spiro, a former board member of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. The position that Azarova was denied was director of the law school’s International Human Rights Program (IHRP). Continue reading