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‘We stand with them’: Alberta adopts IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism


Alberta is the latest Canadian province to stand behind the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's working definition of anti-Semitism.

The announcement was made Friday, along with an official endorsement through an order in council.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in 2016 crafted a working definition of anti-Semitism, stating it "is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities."

In the years since, the IHRA's working definition has been adopted or endorsed by Canada as a whole and individually by the provinces of New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec.

Alberta's move on Friday makes it the fourth province to formally chime in.

British Columbia has said it supports the federal government's support of the IHRA's working definition.

"Remembering the Holocaust is a moral obligation – and anti-Semitism, like all forms of racism and prejudice, has no place in Alberta," said Premier Jason Kenney.

"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."

Justice Minister Tyler Shandro says hatred hurts everyone.

"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," said Shandro.

"I invite all Albertans to speak out against this hatred and help foster a more accepting province."

Friday's announcement was lauded by local community leaders, with many calling the provincial government's move an important one in confronting and combatting hatred within Alberta.

"I am thrilled to see the province taking action to call out and decry all forms of anti-Semitism," said Rabbi Menachem M. Matusof, Chabad Lubavitch of Alberta senior rabbi and executive director.

"Naming the hate we experience and standing together against it will make Alberta an even better, more welcoming place to live and worship."

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) says the IHRA's working definition "provides policymakers, law enforcement and community leaders with a tool to identify, understand and combat contemporary forms of anti-Semitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace and in the religious sphere."

"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, CIJA president and CEO.

"Identifying anti-Semitism 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."

Stacey Leavitt-Wright, Jewish Federation of Edmonton CEO, says Alberta's reigning politicians on Friday sent "a strong message that anti-Semitism has no place in society."

The province also noted its various programs and supports meant to reduce hate crimes.

It noted the Alberta Security Infrastructure Program, meant to prevent vandalism and violence at places of worship and other facilities, and that the province is putting $5 million in 2022 toward the cost of security improvements and risk mitigation.

It also noted law enforcement resources including the Hate Crime Co-ordination Unit and hate crime community liaisons. Top Stories


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