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December 9, 2019 5:24 pm

Jewish Group Urges New Canadian FM to Combat Antisemitism, Delegitimization of Israel

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne. Photo: Reuters / Jorge Adorno.

A Canadian Jewish advocacy group is urging the country’s new foreign affairs minister to counter global antisemitism and efforts to delegitimize Israel.

In a proposed mandate issued on Monday, B’nai Brith Canada called on François-Philippe Champagne — a member of the ruling Liberal party who assumed the foreign affairs portfolio late last month — to fully implement the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism across all bodies of Canadian diplomacy, while encouraging its adoption domestically and abroad.

The group also called for the establishment of a special envoy to combat antisemitism, which would serve as Canada’s envoy to the IHRA, and for Canadian officials to condemn “those who espouse Holocaust denial or distortion, as well as Nazi and neo-Nazi glorification.”

Other proposals focused on ensuing Canadian funding did not go to states, entities or groups that refuse Israel’s right to exist or to commit to fighting antisemitism.

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B’nai Brith further recommended a funding freeze to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the main body dealing with Palestinian refugees and their descendants, “until systemic reforms are undertaken to remove educational materials that incite hatred and violence against the Jewish people and Israel.”

Iran was specifically mentioned in the mandate, with B’nai Brith encouraging Champagne to refrain re-engaging diplomatically with the country “until it fully recognizes Israel’s right to exist, ends its incendiary threats towards Israel and support for terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and refrains from intimidating Canada’s Iranian and Jewish communities.”

It also called for Ottawa to “remain steadfast” in its support for Israel at the UN, and hold accountable the UN Human Rights Council and other bodies at the agency that single out Israel “for unfair treatment.”

Last month, the Canadian government faced criticism from multiple Jewish groups and a condemnatory petition signed by more than 11,000 people after it voted in favor of an annual UN resolution that deems the Western Wall and other sites of Jewish worship occupied Palestinian territories. The measure was one of 20 resolutions targeting Israel during the 2019-2020 General Assembly session.

Following the vote, Champagne asserted that Canada’s “friendship with Israel is strong,” though “there are some times where, like yesterday, Canada [has] to vote with respect to its principles on this issue,” the Canadian Press reported at the time.

“B’nai Brith believes Canada can lead the way in the global fight against antisemitism and hatred and must use its goodwill to encourage others in the international community to do the same,” the group said. “With the rise of antisemitism around the world and the consistent delegitimization, demonization and double standards applied to Israel at the UN, the need for leadership is essential.”

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