NPA Vancouver City Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung calls on the City of Vancouver to adopt the IHRA definition of Antisemitism

”The rapid rise in hate crimes in our city is alarming. It’s time for the City of Vancouver to stand together against hatred and show that antisemitism is not welcome here.” – Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung –

July 19, 2019, Vancouver, B.C. – NPA Vancouver City Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung has introduced a motion calling on the City of Vancouver to adopt a working definition of antisemitism in light of a recent report by the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) hate crimes unit. The VPD hate crimes unit reported that members of the Jewish community are the most targeted group when it comes to hate crimes in the city, followed by Muslims, LGBTQ community members, and Asian and Black communities. In the City of Vancouver, reported hate crimes and hate crime incidents increased from 61 in 2016 to 141 in 2018.
 
In her motion, Councillor Kirby-Yung calls for the City of Vancouver to adopt the working definition of antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) at their plenary in May 2016. In June, the IHRA’s non-legally binding definition of antisemitism was adopted by the Government of Canada as part of Canada’s new anti-racism strategy and is now considered to be the most widely accepted definition of antisemitism on the planet.
 
Kirby-Yung’s motion also points to reports from Statistics Canada which show that, when it comes to police-reported hate crimes, members of the Jewish community are the most frequently targeted ethno-cultural group in the country; a troubling statistic in the face of the global rise in antisemitism and horrific attacks targeting synagogues in recent months.
 
“The City of Vancouver is committed to combating all forms of hatred,” said Councillor Kirby-Yung. “The rapid rise in hate crimes in our city is alarming. We must stand together; antisemitism has no place here. I’ve heard from hundreds of Vancouverites who live with this. They deserve to feel safe and know their City stands with them.”
 
The non-legally binding IHRA working definition of antisemitism states: “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.”
 
To better understand the various manifestations of antisemitism – as expressed in speech, writing, visual forms, and actions – the IHRA lists a number of illustrative examples that expand upon the working definition. For example, as the IHRA specifically states, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country is not and cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.
 
However, calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion is anti-Semitic, as is making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews, or the power of Jews globally, and denying the fact, scope, mechanisms, or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people during World War II (the Holocaust).
 
Councillor Kirby-Yung’s motion also calls on Vancouver City Council to direct staff to share the motion and the IHRA non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism with the Vancouver Police Department, Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver Park Board, and Vancouver School Board for their review and consideration as an additional practical tool, in addition to any existing working definitions, in identifying antisemitism.
 
According to Statistics Canada, police-reported hate crimes targeting members of the Canadian Jewish community reached 360 in 2017, rising by 60 percent in a single year. An anti-Semitic hate crime takes place once every 24 hours in Canada.
 
The text of Councillor Kirby-Yung’s motion is appended below and can also be accessed on the City of Vancouver’s website at https://council.vancouver.ca/20190723/documents/motionb2.pdf. The motion will be considered by Council at their regular meeting this coming Tuesday, July 23rd, with the possibility that it will be moved to the next day’s Committee meeting (Wednesday, July 24th) to hear from members of the public.
 
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Media please email media@npavancouver.ca
 
 
Combatting Antisemitism in Vancouver
 
Submitted by: Councillor Kirby-Yung
 
WHEREAS
 
1. The City of Vancouver is committed to combating all forms of hatred, including antisemitism;
 
2. The City is actively working on the development of an Equity Framework;
 
3. 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;
 
4. Research demonstrates that we are witnessing a global rise in antisemitism, as evidenced by horrific attacks targeting synagogues in recent months. As a result, Jewish community-facing organizations in Vancouver have been forced to invest in visible security presence at their facilities;
 
5. 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;
 
6. On May 26, 2016, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Plenary, of which the Government of Canada is a member, adopted a working definition of antisemitism and list of illustrative examples;
 
7. On June 25, 2019, the Minister of Canadian heritage and Multiculturalism announced that the Government of Canada would officially adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism and list of illustrative examples as part of Canada’s new anti-racism strategy;
 
8. In 2017, police-reported hate crimes targeting members of the Canadian Jewish community reached 360 and rose by 60% in a single year, according to Statistics Canada. An anti-Semitic hate crime takes place once every 24 hours in Canada;
 
9. On June 12, 2019, VPD hate crimes unit reported that members of the Jewish community are the most targeted group when it comes to hate crimes in the city, followed by Muslims, LGBTQ community members, and Asian and black communities. In the City of Vancouver, hate crimes and hate crime incidents increased from 61 in 2016 to 141 in 2018;
 
10. The rise in hate crimes and anti-Semitism is alarming and contradicts fundamental values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the BC Human Rights Code. Antisemitism can only be overcome by education, increased awareness-raising efforts, strong political condemnation, and enforcement of relevant laws.
 
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the City of Vancouver adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism and list of illustrative examples, as adopted by the IHRA plenary on May 26, 2016, and the Government of Canada in June 2019, which reads:
 
i. “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.”
 
FURTHER THAT Council direct staff to share this motion and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism with the Vancouver Police Department, Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver Park Board and Vancouver School Board for their review and consideration as an additional practical tool, in addition to any existing working definitions, in identifying antisemitism.
 
Source: https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/working-definition-antisemitism