'A major Canadian city has rejected an attempt by Israel lobby groups to brand criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism.
Meanwhile, Israel advocates are slamming a vote by the Canadian government in support of Palestinian self-determination at the United Nations.
On Monday, the Calgary city council voted to amend a motion on fighting anti-Semitism that included language that could characterize Palestinian rights campaigning as anti-Jewish bigotry.
Calgary is now the second Canadian city to effectively dissent from the Trudeau government’s announcement in June that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s “working definition” of anti-Semitism would be formally adopted as part of its strategy to “combat racism and discrimination.”
In July, Vancouver’s city council postponed a vote on a motion to adopt the definition.
“This is a major victory for all who oppose anti-Semitism and support Palestinian human rights,” said Miriam Meir of Independent Jewish Voices in Calgary.
“The IHRA re-definition is being used to shut down legitimate criticism of Israel, and thankfully, our city councillors saw that.”
B’nai Brith Canada, an Israel lobby group, had urged the city council to adopt the definition and repeated smears against the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign for Palestinian rights.
In an op-ed in the Calgary Herald before the vote, the group’s CEO Michael Mostyn claimed that the IHRA definition would be a useful tool “in explaining the threat” that the BDS campaign “poses to Jewish Canadians.”
“Sadly, the IHRA and its supporters are using society’s legitimate concern about anti-Semitism to suppress criticism of Israel and support for Palestinian rights,” said Corey Balsam of Independent Jewish Voices.
“In doing so, they are actually undermining the battle against genuine anti-Semitism, which is on the rise,” Balsam added.'
Read more: Calgary rejects Israel lobby’s biased anti-Semitism definition
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20 February 2020
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