Quebec government adopts controversial IHRA definition of antisemitism

The Quebec government has officially adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, a controversial definition designed to silence criticism of ‘Israel’.

The announcement was made in the National Assembly on June 9 by Environment Minister Benoit Charette and follows the National Assembly’s unanimous motion on May 26 condemning anti-Semitic incidents that have taken place in recent weeks.

The IHRA definition has already been adopted by the provincial governments of Ontario and New Brunswick, and in 24 cities across Ontario and Quebec.

“More than 75 years after the end of the Shoah, anti-Semitism remains present in our societies,” Charette said in the National Assembly.

“Violence, threats and aggression experienced by our Quebec Jewish community have, deplorably, gained momentum these past weeks, in our cities as well as on social media.”

“It is our duty to take all the means possible in order to combat anti-Semitism. That is why the government of Quebec joins the renewed international effort in adopting, as many countries, parliaments and international organizations have done, the non-binding IHRA definition of anti-Semitism as a certain perception of Jews that may manifest itself as hatred toward them,” Charette stated.

The IHRA definition has been formally adopted by the governments of the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Hungary, the United States, the European Parliament and more than 30 other countries.

However, the IHRA definition includes problematic examples of antisemitism that have been criticised by human rights groups as well as some liberal Zionist organisations.

Some of the most controversial examples of antisemitism provided by the IHRA include banning anyone from “applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation”.

Another example presented in the IHRA definition: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, eg, by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”

The definition is simply designed to silence criticism of ‘Israel’ and of Zionism by equating this criticism with antisemitism.

The examples have also been used by Israel lobby groups to disrupt the activities of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement around the world by claiming that a boycott of Israel is anti-Semitic.

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