Canada must make pledge at Holocaust, antisemitism conference: Bnai Brith Canada

The venue of the upcoming Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism in Sweden.

The Government of Canada should make a country pledge at the Oct. 13 Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism in Sweden, says B'nai Brith Canada.

“This is is the most important conference to preserve Holocaust remembrance and to combat antisemitism and yet we do not know who will lead Canada’s delegation or what our country pledge will be,” said Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada. “We are calling for the delegation to be headed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, supported by Foreign Minister Marc Garneau and Irwin Cotler, Canada’s Special Envoy to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.”

Mostyn added that 50 heads of states "were invited by Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, the conference host, and that several are confirmed."

Marvin Rotrand, now B’nai Brith Canada's new National Director for the League of Human Rights, said Sweden "has made its pledge public and has committed to significant annual funding for Holocaust remembrance and for initiatives to promote active citizenship to prevent antisemitism and other forms of racism. Canada should emulate Sweden’s example.”

B’nai Brith Canada wrote to Garneau, "asking Canada to enhance the resources available to the Special Envoy for the Preservation of Holocaust Remembrance and for Combatting Antisemitism to include a budget and staff, for an immediate commitment that the Government of Canada table legislation to attack online hate, for substantial funding to promote education about antisemitism in Canada and to support organizations that actively promote tolerance and cooperation.

"B'nai Brith is also asking the Government of Canada to work with provinces and municipalities to implement the IHRA working definition on antisemitism."

B’nai Brith's statement said the organization was puzzled "as to why Canada was not among the 43 democratic states, including all our major allies, that signed the statement led by Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia in coordination with World Jewish Congress at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on October 4."

B’nai Brith is also "calling on the Government of Canada to endorse a joint declaration between the World Jewish Congress and the Muslim World League at the UNHRC special session. The statement called for the protection of human rights and is the first joint declaration between Jewish and Muslim organizations at a UN body.

“We value the Government of Canada’s ongoing efforts to tackle antisemitism,” Mostyn added. “Making a principled stance at the Malmo Forum against antisemitism and other forms of hatred is a profoundly Canadian act embodying the values we seek to share with the world.”

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