The Canadian Federation of Students supports the stance of Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) against the definition of antisemitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) as it infringes on both freedom of expression and academic freedom in post-secondary education campuses.
As IJV has stated, the IHRA definition conflates antisemitism with valid criticism of Israel and its promotion and/or adoption into law threatens to criminalize activists fighting for Palestinian rights as well as critical analysis on Israel and Zionism. The Federation is deeply concerned with the precedent and adverse consequences the IHRA can create in our post-secondary institutions. For example, in the United States, the adoption of this working definition into law allows for the withholding of federal funds to universities where students and faculty are advocating for justice and human rights in Israel-Palestine.
In Ontario, Bill 168 is up for a second reading in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. If implemented, this definition will be detrimental to freedom of expression on our campuses and the right to protest for human rights. The Federation urges the government of Ontario to reject the IHRA definition as it has been done in other Canadian jurisdiction like Vancouver, Calgary, and Montreal. Students deserve the right to express themselves freely when fighting for Palestinian rights and expressing criticisms towards Israel, and governments have no place in censoring their ability to do so.
The Federation asserts that antisemitism is a real threat on our campuses and in our communities and it must be combatted everyday. The Federation calls on all levels of government to continue fighting antisemitism and other forms of racism without infringing on freedom of expression nor academic freedom.
The Federation supports the Independent Jewish Voices working definition of antisemitism, which can be found here:
To take action and send an email to Ontario MPPs to oppose the IHRA definition and Bill 168: