Independent Jewish Voices condemns the Canadian government’s confirmation today that Canadian Heritage grantees must attest to the IHRA definition of antisemitism in order to receive or keep their funding. These measures equate to requiring that applicants sign away their rights to criticize Israel.
Speaking in a committee meeting today, Assistant Deputy Minister for Canadian Heritage, Mala Khanna, confirmed that applicants for Canadian Heritage funding are now required to sign an attestation that they will not undermine Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, a document that includes the IHRA working definition of antisemitism.
Khanna also confirmed that the IHRA definition has been integrated into vetting training for Canadian Heritage Program Advisors and that it will be part of additional training for all government departments.
IJV calls on Canadian Heritage to drop the discredited IHRA definition from the attestation, any training materials, and to exclude it from its new anti-racism strategy, set to be launched this year. We also call on Canadian Heritage to make its training materials public and to ensure that a broad range of views are taken into consideration, including those such as Palestinians who may be impacted by its contents.
IJV would furthermore be happy to work with Canadian Heritage on finding ways to address antisemitism that do not do harm, such as IJV’s definition of antisemitism, the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism, and a set of 5 Principles for Dismantling Antisemitism.
The announcement at today’s meeting follows an October briefing by Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, Ahmed Hussen, at which he spoke to the introduction of the new attestation requiring grantees to commit to Canada’s “antiracism framework,” widely interpreted as referring to Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy.
IJV’s national coordinator, its members and supporters, and 30+ prominent civil society groups mobilized to send over 1500 letters to Minister Hussen condemning this move as well as an open letter demanding the IHRA be removed from Heritage funding attestations and vetting training, published last week.
This latest confirmation has only intensified the need to speak out against a definition that does far more to silence criticisms of Israel than actually protect Jews in Canada from hate speech.