Vancouver councillor introduces motion to better define anti-Semitism

Jul 22 2019, 4:36 pm

Vancouver City Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung is introducing a new motion she says will help combat anti-Semitism.

The motion, if passed, would see the City of Vancouver adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism:

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

The definition would then be shared with the Vancouver Police Department, Public Library, Park Board, and School Board so that incidents can be better identified, and proper measures can be taken.

Kirby-Yung notes that anti-Semitism is among one of the most prevalent forms of hate crime in Vancouver.

“Statistics Canada reports that members of the Jewish community are the most frequently targeted ethno-cultural group when it comes to police-reported hate crimes,” she writes in her motion. “Research demonstrates that we are witnessing a global rise in anti-Semitism, as evidenced by horrific attacks targeting synagogues in recent months.”

“Every person in the city of Vancouver has the right to realize their potential without fear of discrimination, and to live in conditions of dignity, respect, and peace”

Statistics Canada also says that the number of police-reported hate-crimes targeting the Canadian-Jewish community rose by 60% in 2017.

The federal government adopted the IHRA definition earlier this June.

Kirby-Yung clarifies, however, that adopting the definition would not and should not prevent legitimate political discourse.

The motion will be brought towards city council on Tuesday, July 23.

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