The Canadian province of Alberta has become the latest province in Canada to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.
The announcement of the move was made on Friday, along with an official endorsement through an order in council.
"Remembering the Holocaust is a moral obligation – and antisemitism, like all forms of racism and prejudice, has no place in Alberta," said Premier Jason Kenney, adding, "In endorsing this internationally recognized definition, Alberta is doing its part to make sure we continue to learn from this painful history and promise never to repeat it."
Alberta’s Justice Minister Tyler Shandro said, "Alberta’s government is endorsing this definition of anti-Semitism to let the Jewish community know we stand with them against discrimination and will not tolerate hate in our communities."
"I invite all Albertans to speak out against this hatred and help foster a more accepting province," he added.
The IHRA working definition offers a comprehensive description of antisemitism in its various forms, including hatred and discrimination against Jews, Holocaust denial and, sometimes controversially, the way antisemitism relates to the ways criticism of Israel is expressed.
Jewish leaders in Canada welcomed Alberta’s move.
“The Alberta government’s adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism is a clear affirmation of our elected officials’ recognition of the upsurge in hate targeting Jews and the need to counter this rise,” said Shimon Koffler Fogel, President and CEO, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). “Identifying antisemitism is the first step in recognizing its manifestations, which is key to standing against it. Today, Alberta joins governments across the country to say that enough is enough. Canadians cannot stand by and allow Jew-hatred to spread unchecked.”
“Today, the Government of Alberta sent a strong message that antisemitism has no place in society,” said Stacey Leavitt-Wright, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Edmonton. “To combat antisemitism effectively, it must first be defined. The IHRA definition will help Albertans identify and combat antisemitism in all its forms.”
“With antisemitic hate crimes on the rise across the country, fighting antisemitism is a priority – not just for the Jewish community, but for all Albertans and for all Canadians,” said Adam Silver, CEO, Calgary Jewish Federation. “IHRA will equip policymakers with a usable tool to address this rise in hate and discrimination. We look forward to working with stakeholders as they apply the IHRA definition to guide education, public policy, anti-racism strategies, and law enforcement hate crime identification frameworks.”
Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith Canada’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “We’re thrilled to see Alberta joining Ontario in formally adopting IHRA. Its importance cannot be underestimated. We thank Premier Jason Kenney and Minister Tyler Shandro for having met with us repeatedly over the last year, leading to today’s major announcement. We’re also grateful for Rabbi Arie Drelich’s support for our efforts to have Alberta adopt IHRA.”
“Jews comprise only 1.25% of the Canadian population, yet Statistics Canada alerts us that in 2021, they represented 56% of all police-reported hate crimes targeting religious minorities. That is unacceptable,” said Marvin Rotrand, B’nai Brith Canada’s National Director of its League for Human Rights. “Today, the Alberta Government has reassured the Jewish community that it will not tolerate hate."
More than half the states in the US have adopted or endorsed the IHRA definition, plus the District of Columbia, either as legislation or as an educational standard.
The IHRA definition of antisemitism has also been adopted by a host of countries, including Albania, Australia, Canada, Germany, Britain, Austria, Romania, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, France, Cyprus and Argentina.
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Rosh Hashanah in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)