B’nai Brith recognizes the importance of Canada’s pledges made October 13 at the Malmo International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism. The pledge explicitly puts into writing remarks Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made addressing the delegates.
Those remarks alerted the world community to the shocking facts that came to light at the National Summit on Antisemitism last July. The Summit highlighted the upsurge in antisemitism that has infected Canada the last years leading to record numbers of documented cases of vandalism, violence and online hate.
We see the promise to make permanent the position of Special Envoy as vital. The Special Envoy incarnates Canada’s commitment to stand against antisemitism. The position can lead to translating the bold language in our country pledge into concrete actions on the ground.
The facts are known. Since the advent of the Covid pandemic, there has been an explosion of hate in Canada aimed at identifiable groups.
Jews are among the most targeted. Experts tell us that most hate incidents simply aren’t reported and the official numbers do not give a full portrait of the seriousness of the situation.
B’nai Brith now offers to partner with your office to allow you to leverage our expertise in moving forward these pledges. B’nai Brith is calling for an action plan headed by you that will prioritize the following over the next 12 months. We see these 4 actions as important steps toward a national plan to combat hate:
• New legislation to eradicate antisemitism and other forms of online hate. A bill combating growth of online hate needs to be a major priority for the upcoming session of Parliament.
International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Definition of Antisemitism:
• Canada has adopted IHRA and it now essential to promote this working definition on Antisemitism at the provincial, territorial and municipal levels of government. The Special Envoy’s office must prioritize its implementation across all sectors of government and society to make it effective.
Preserving Holocaust Remembrance:
• Convening a special forum and ongoing dialogue with the Council of Ministers of Education Canada to work with schools to develop effective methods to combat antisemitism, and implement mandatory and consistent Holocaust and genocide courses of study and awareness programs while addressing the surge of antisemitic incidents on Canadian university campuses.
Developmental Assistance Criteria that Make Clear Antisemitism Will Not Be Tolerated:
• Canada must promote the fight against antisemitism in international partnerships, including in political and human rights dialogues with third countries, to include applying an ‘antisemitism lens’ to Canada’s regular assessments of a country’s human rights record emulating the examples of the United States and the European Union. Most importantly Canadian international development assistance must not enable or facilitate antisemitism and incitement, especially in education; including a commitment that funding of domestic and international NGOs will be conditioned on their adherence to the IHRA definition of antisemitism.
It will take a robust commitment to eradicate hate. That is why we as Canada’s most established Jewish organization have spoken for the community and pushed back against the haters since 1875. We are offering our expertise to aid you in ensuring that the Malmo promises rapidly become Government policies with real impact on the ground.
Michael Mostyn isChief Executive Officer B’nai Brith Canada and
Marvin Rotrand is National Director of the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada