We, the undersigned members of the Canadian academic community wish to express our opposition to the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Anti-Semitism by academic institutions and other public bodies in Canada.
Anti-Semitism is an imminent and increasingly deadly threat to Jews. However, we do not believe that the adoption of this definition serves the purpose of defeating this insidious form of hatred. The IHRA definition, which has recently been adopted by the Canadian government, is worded in such a way as to intentionally equate legitimate criticisms of Israel and advocacy for Palestinian rights with anti-Semitism. This conflation undermines both the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality and the global struggle against anti-Semitism. It also serves to shield Israel from accountability to universal standards of human rights and international law. We believe that the adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism by Canadian academic institutions would create a “chilly climate” in relation to forms of teaching, research and activism on Israel and Palestine. We urge all those who value honest debate and academic freedom to reject the imposition of a definition that would imperil the pursuit of truth and the legitimate expression of dissent.