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B’nai Brith Canada Applauds Alberta Legislative Assembly’s Endorsement of IHRA Definition

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MLA Richard Gotfried

March 14, 2023

EDMONTON – B’nai Brith Canada applauds and welcomes the Alberta Legislative Assembly’s (ALA) endorsement of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism in a motion passed yesterday.

Richard Gotfried, MLA for Calgary-Fish Creek, introduced the motion, which condemned antisemitism, endorsed the IHRA definition and called for its implementation across the province. The motion specifically supported the Government’s action last September, when the province adopted the IHRA definition.

In his remarks to the Legislative Assembly, Gotfried specifically thanked B’nai Brith for its advocacy.  The Federal Government and the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan also use the definition.

“This reminds us that it is the responsibility of us all to combat a concerning surge into antisemitism and indeed other forms of racism,” Gotfried told the Legislative Assembly. “Hence, we must begin by clearly defining it. Because antisemitism knows no borders, it is important that Canadian institutions at all levels embrace the same definition to facilitate collective efforts to combat it.

“Significantly, over the past year Canadian governments and institutions continue to embrace the most authoritative, comprehensive, and representative definition of antisemitism that exists today,” Gotfried continued, referring to the IHRA definition. “To ensure the heinous crimes against humanity, perpetrated now almost 80 years ago by the hateful actions of cold-blooded murderers and, sadly, by the inaction of silence of so many who remained silently complicit, will never be forgotten now and by future generations for eternity because of the adherence to this definition.”

Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada, tipped his cap to Gotfried and his ALA colleagues.

“We are grateful to the ALA for its continued support of the Jewish people,” Mostyn said. “The Legislative Assembly is the democratic voice of Albertans. Its endorsement and calls to implement the IHRA definition are welcomed and greatly appreciated. Alberta has fortified its adoption of the working IHRA definition. We thank the province for its commitment to combating antisemitism and clearing the path for robust Jewish life in Alberta.”

Last Thursday, B’nai Brith launched a series of roundtables to promote the importance of adopting the IHRA definition in as many government bodies, jurisdictions and organizations as possible. The series, supported by the Government of Canada, began in Vancouver and will continue in Alberta next week. Both Mostyn and Abe Silverman, Manager of Public Affairs, Alberta, will be at the symposium in Edmonton.

Mostyn and Silverman, along with Marvin Rotrand, National Director of B’nai Brith’s League for Human Rights, were singled out by Gotfried for advocacy efforts that led to the ALA’s adoption of the IHRA definition.

Silverman, a Holocaust survivor, was deeply touched by Alberta’s relentless dedication to confronting antisemitism.

“I will be 81 soon,” Silverman said, “and let me say I wept while listening to Richard Gotfried and the other MLAs make such a passionate case for the Jewish people. During the Holocaust, so few stood up for Jews in our time of need. I know I speak on behalf of my fellow Jewish Albertans when I salute you.”