To the Right Honorable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,
The following letter is sent to you on behalf of the Coalition of Canadian Palestinian Organizations (hereinafter referred to as the “Coalition”) in response to the government’s recent decision to appoint a Special Envoy designated to preserve Holocaust remembrance and combating antisemitism through the implementation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (hereinafter referred to as “IHRA”) working definition of antisemitism.
We are deeply concerned with the government’s recent decision regarding the advancement of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism through the Special Envoy and wish to outline the repercussions that this may have on Canadian Palestinians.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
On October 27, 2020, Doug Ford's Ontario Government announced that it had pulled the plug on Bill 168, a private member's bill that would have adopted the controversial IHRA working definition of antisemitism, and instead unilaterally adopted the IHRA definition through an Order-In-Council. This was announced less than 24 hours before civil society groups were preparing to testify about Bill 168 in public hearings before the Justice Policy committee. Over 100 individuals and organizations had applied to speak before the committee, including CJPME. Given this anti-democratic move to silence public opposition to IHRA, CJPME has decided to publish our written submission on IHRA as a threat to free speech on Israel and Palestine.
CJPME's full submission is available here as a .PDF, or copied below.Read more
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.Read more