The government of the Canadian province of Quebec on Wednesday adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism, The CJN reported.
The definition was adopted as a declaration made in the National Assembly by Environment Minister Benoit Charette, who is responsible for combating racism.
On June 4, the Coalition Avenir Québec government was unsuccessful in having a non-binding motion condemning anti-Semitism, which alluded to the IHRA definition, put before the legislature. Québec Solidaire (QS), the second opposition party, withheld the unanimous consent needed for a motion to proceed.
As a declaration, the government’s decision to endorse the IHRA definition did not require the consent of other members. The declaration is almost identical to the failed June 4 motion, noted The CJN.
The IHRA working definition offers a comprehensive description of anti-Semitism in its various forms, including hatred and discrimination against Jews, Holocaust denial and, sometimes controversially, the way anti-Semitism relates to the ways criticism of Israel is expressed.
The IHRA definition has been adopted by a host of countries, including Albania, Germany, Britain, Austria, Romania, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, France, Cyprus and Argentina.
The government of Canada formally adopted IHRA definition of anti-Semitism in 2019 as part of its anti-racism strategy. Two Canadian provinces, Ontario and New Brunswick, preceded Quebec in adopting the definition.
Jewish groups in Canada welcomed the adoption of the definition in Quebec.
Eta Yudin, Centre of Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) Vice President, Quebec, said, “Today, the Minister responsible for the Fight Against Racism, Benoit Charette, and the Government of Quebec have taken a concrete step forward in the fight against anti-Semitism, joining more than 34 countries around the world who have adopted the normative definition of anti-Semitism.”
“Today’s announcement follows a recent and unprecedented spike in anti-Semitic incidents. The National Assembly’s unanimous motion condemning antisemitism and the Government of Quebec’s adoption of the IHRA definition are a clear affirmation of our elected officials’ recognition of the seriousness of the upsurge in hate targeting Jews and of the need for concrete action to counter this rise. We applaud Minister Charette and the government for their leadership in the fight against Jew-hatred, an issue that concerns all Quebecers,” added Yudin.
Yair Szlak, CEO of Federation CJA, added, “The Government of Quebec’s adoption of the IHRA definition is an important step in the fight against anti-Semitism in Quebec and throughout the world. Our public authorities will now be able to rely upon a tool that enables them to clearly define anti-Semitic incidents in Quebec. The Jewish community salutes the commitment and foresight of the Government of Quebec in the fight against anti-Semitism, a fight that concerns Quebecers of every stripe.”
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) applauded the Government of Quebec for adopting the IHRA definition.
"Amid growing antisemitism in Quebec and across the country, the adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is an extremely important step governments can take to help recognize, combat and hopefully prevent Jew-hatred online and offline," said Michael Levitt, president and CEO of FSWC. "We thank Minister Charette and applaud the Quebec government for taking such action in the fight against anti-Semitism and standing with the Jewish community against hate."