Press Release: CIJA Applauds York Regional Council’s Adoption of IHRA Definition


April 30, 2020 

Press Release: CIJA Applauds York Regional Council’s Adoption of IHRA Definition

NEWMARKET, ON — Earlier today, the York Regional Council, representing the municipalities of Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Newmarket, Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, and Whitchurch-Stouffville, joined a growing number of jurisdictions in adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.

The IHRA definition is the world’s most widely accepted definition of antisemitism. In 2019, the definition was adopted by the Government of Canada as part of its new anti-racism strategy. In February, an Ontario bill to adopt the definition received unanimous support at second reading.

In response, Noah Shack, Vice President, GTA, issued the following:

“York Regional Council’s adoption of the IHRA definition is another crucial step in the fight against antisemitism. We commend the mayors and councillors from the entire region for their leadership, particularly Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua and Vaughan Regional Councillors Mario Ferri, Gino Rosati and Linda Jackson for moving this important initiative forward.

“Canada, Ontario and York Region have thriving, vibrant Jewish communities and remain among the greatest places in the world to live as a minority group. However, Statistics Canada data consistently shows that Jewish Canadians continue to be the most frequently targeted group when it comes to hate crimes. Today’s vote sends an unequivocal message that antisemitic hate and discrimination, which continues to thrive amidst the COVID-19 crisis, will not be tolerated.

“We cannot effectively combat resurgent antisemitism without clearly defining it. The IHRA definition, which has been adopted by a growing number of jurisdictions both in Canada and around the world, will be a helpful tool for York Region in addressing this pernicious hate.”

Additional Background

  • The IHRA definition now constitutes the world’s most widely accepted definition of antisemitism, having been endorsed or adopted by dozens of countries and bodies – including Canada, the UK, US, EU, France and Germany.
  • In 2016, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) plenary – of which Canada is a member – adopted a working definition of antisemitism and list of illustrative examples.
  • Statistics Canada data consistently confirms that the Jewish community is the most frequently targeted minority when it comes to hate crime. In 2017, Statistics Canada reported 360 hate crimes targeting the Jewish community – an average of once every 24 hours.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of the Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA

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