New Brunswick Legislature
New Brunswick LegislatureiStock

The Canadian province of New Brunswick has become the latest to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, B’nai Brith Canada said in a statement on Monday.

The group, who recently made a request directly to New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs to adopt the IHRA definition, said it has sent a letter to him to express its gratitude.

“The Jewish population of New Brunswick is relatively small, yet B’nai Brith’s 2021 Audit recorded 46 incidents of antisemitism in the province in 2021,” said Michael Mostyn, B'nai Brith Canada's Chief Executive Officer. “The Audit shows the IHRA definition’s effectiveness. Antisemitism has generally declined in the areas where the IHRA definition has been implemented.”

The Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick adopted the definition in March of 2021, but B’nai Brith Canada noted that motion "while very welcome, was less far-reaching.”

“B’nai Brith is grateful to the Premier for his rapid followup to our outreach," said Marvin Rotrand, National Director of B’nai Brith’s League for Human Rights. “The province has told us it is sensitive to antisemitism and is seeking the tools to vigorously combat It. This text applies to the whole of government. A previous motion adopted by the Legislature in March, 2021, while very welcome, was less far-reaching.”

Premier Higgs formalized a Declaration embracing the IHRA definition last Thursday, the text of which resolves that New Brunswick “endorses and adopts the working definition of antisemitism as adopted by the IHRA Plenary on May 26, 2016.”

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.

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.

In addition to the federal government of Canada, the IHRA definition has been adopted by the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, Alberta and Manitoba.