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B’nai Brith Appears in Parliament Committee to Recommend Steps for Combating Antisemitism

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Richard Robertson, B’nai Brith Canada’s Director of Research and Advocacy, addressing the Committee Thursday.

May 23, 2024

OTTAWA – B’nai Brith Canada appeared Thursday before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to offer key recommendations to combat antisemitism in Canada.

Richard Robertson, B’nai Brith Canada’s Director of Research and Advocacy, was among experts consulted for testimony as MPs conducted an inquiry into “Antisemitism and Additional Measures That Could Be Taken to Address the Valid Fears That Are Being Expressed By Canada’s Jewish Community.”

Robertson cited B’nai Brith’s Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents in Canada, which in 2023 recorded a 109.1 per cent increase in reported cases of violence, vandalism, online harassment, and other heinous acts – the highest tally since 1982.

In a three-page written submission to the committee, B’nai Brith called for the Canadian Government to create a framework to ensure that all research funding agreements, such as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. Adopting this framework would ensure that Canada’s inter-agency research funding is in line with Canada’s anti-racism strategy, which uses IHRA to identify antisemitism.

We also called on the Government to implement a five-year plan to improve IHRA literacy for students enrolled in Canadian post-secondary institutions, where high-profile acts of antisemitism have become increasingly pronounced in recent months.

“B’nai Brith’s submission to this Honourable Committee comes at a time when Canada’s Jewish community is in crisis,” Robertson told the hearing. “The situation for Canadian Jewish post secondary students has become untenable.

“The Jewish community needs a stronger response from all members of Parliament. Fighting antisemitism cannot be a partisan issue.”

The Committee will continue to collect information in the coming weeks and months, with the goal of producing a report with recommendations to address the scourge of antisemitism in Canada.