March 19, 2021
Mayor Valérie Plante and Montreal City Council
Dear Mayor Plante and Council Members,
We understand that on Monday March 22, 2021 Council will have the opportunity to vote on adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism, and we know that you have been petitioned by proBDS groups like Independent Jewish Voices to vote “no.”
The Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation which has been monitoring rising antisemitism in Canada for almost 20 years, urges that you vote “Yes” and discount the animus that comes from IJV and other members of the Canadian BDS Coalition that can best be described as antisemitic. Using a few Jews as a cover does not in itself identify IJV as representative of the Jewish community in Montreal or in Canada. Their positions are generally against the very existence of Israel, the only Jewish state. It is important to point this out as the part of IHRA that they oppose is where it clearly states that treating the only Jewish country differently from every other country, constitutes antisemitism. This position that threatens their existence, which has one goal—the destruction of the Jewish state. How better to describe antisemitism? IHRA does NOT conflict with freedom of speech or the ability to criticize an Israeli government policy any more than Canadians can criticize policies here.
We urge that you adopt AND IMPLEMENT IHRA, for it is an essential tool that Canadians need, not just Jews, but all Canadians in addressing racism against Jewish people. In an era of increased ethno-racial hostilities, it is important that the rights of Jews are protected. Jews are the most often attacked minority when it comes to hate crimes. It is inconceivable that Montreal City Council would push the problem away and do less than its utmost to confront it. Over 34 countries have now adopted IHRA, including Germany where the hate for Jews was so entrenched that it moved people to massacre millions. The IHRA has been adopted by the Muslim World League, the Government of Canada, the American Government, many Cities as part of the movement of Mayors Combating Antisemitism, several major sports teams, universities and more. We hope Montreal will be among the leaders in this country, challenging Jew hatred with a significant tool and educating your staff, local institutions, school children, faith groups and media. Working together, we can END JEW HATRED.