Richmond News improves coverage of Canadian civil society opposition to IHRA

Richmond_News_2.pngOn February 6, 2023, the Richmond News published an article about an upcoming vote at Richmond City Hall on the controversial IHRA definition of antisemitism, which conflates antisemitism with criticism of Israel.

However, CJPME felt that the article did not adequately express the broad opposition to IHRA in Canadian civil society, and requested that the article name some of the organizations which are critical of IHRA, including the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA). CJPME also requested that the article specify that the threat of IHRA was not hypothetical, and that there were documented cases of it being used to silence speech.

These issues were largely addressed in a subsequent article on the topic, published on February 10, 2023, which included the following discussion:

In response to a Richmond News article on council considering the definitions of anti-racism, a spokesperson of the Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, Reem Majid, said she felt the opposition to the IHRA definition was broader than just being opposed by one Jewish group, Independent Jewish Voices, mentioned in a previous News article.

This definition has, in fact, been opposed by other Jewish groups, some labour groups as well as the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA).

The BCCLA warned Vancouver city council, when they were considering adopting the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, that it was “extremely vague” and “open to misinterpretation” and would “serve to severely chill political expressions of criticism of Israel as well as support for Palestinian rights.”

Some universities and other organization have documented cases where they claim the IHRA definition caused free speech, namely, criticism of Israel, to be stifled.