Fighting Antisemitism is Essential. But the IHRA Definition is the Wrong Approach.

June 13, 2019

There is no doubt that antisemitism is a growing threat. The recent murderous attacks on Jews in Pittsburgh and San Diego are proof that hatred of Jews is a growing problem worldwide. 

What is to be done to stem this disturbing trend? 

Many Jewish institutions, pro-Israel groups and the Israeli government are suggesting the universal adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Antisemitism (IHRA-WDA).

But the IHRA definition of antisemitism equates criticism of Israel and of Zionism with antisemitism using this logic: antisemitism is hatred of Jews; Jewish identity and Zionism are inseparable; anti-Zionism is therefore a form of antisemitism. Of the definition’s 11 examples, seven deem criticism of Israel or Zionism to be antisemitic. 

The IHRA definition has been embraced by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, B’nai Brith Canada, and Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre — all staunchly pro-Israel organizations that are urging that the IHRA-WDA be widely adopted in Canada for the purpose of assessing whether a speech or action is antisemitic. 

We need your help to oppose the IHRA-WDA

IJV members and supporters know that being Jewish and supporting Israel are two separate things. Adoption of the IHRA-WDA is a threat to free speech, academic freedom, and freedom of dissent. Its primary goal is to ban or criminalize deep criticism of Israel and Zionism, and suppress support for Palestinian rights.

This is where you come in. We are all committed to fighting antisemitism. But that cannot come at the cost of defending Palestinian human rights. 

What can you do?

  • Sign our petition
  • Be alert to initiatives which seek to enshrine the IHRA definition as policy in your communities and speak out about the dangers it poses to the struggle for justice and human rights in Israel/Palestine.
  • Use the resources on our #NoIHRA campaign website to lobby your federal and local representatives as well as university administrations and law enforcement officials to reject adoption of the definition.

For media inquiries:

Judith Muster, Independent Jewish Voices Canada,