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Home arrow Censorship arrow The BCCLA opposes the international campaign to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism
The BCCLA opposes the international campaign to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism PDF Print E-mail
Jun 18, 2019 at 12:00 AM

The BCCLA is concerned about an international campaign that is urging governments to use the definition of “antisemitism” adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (“IHRA”).  The campaign is targeting all levels of government in Canada, as well as universities, police, and other authorities.

We strongly oppose this proposal because of its threat to freedom of expression.

Antisemitism is a serious problem.  Our association is unequivocally opposed to antisemitism and other forms of racism. We believe, however, that fighting racism and defending civil liberties are complementary objectives; that the best way to defeat racism is to promote arguments against it rather than to have the government silence people.

We have long had concerns about the use of hate speech laws, especially with respect to their capacity to chill legitimate political speech. We believe that the legal adoption of the IHRA definition in Canada is inconsistent with the values underlying the Charter of Rights and Freedom and would greatly narrow the scope of political expression in Canada.

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Concentration camps – at the US border and in Gaza

Since last week, a media storm has been taking place over Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez use of the term “concentration camps” to refer to the detention camps for immigrant families on the country’s southern border.

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Gaza has become unlivable. One needs to soak in these terms and repeat them to oneself. Nearly two million people are living in an unlivable concentration camp. They have been herded there already in 1948 (over 70% of Gaza’s residents are refugees), and they are repeatedly targeted for protesting their incarceration – even when they protest it with absolutely no arms, they get shot with lethal ammunition.

We need this language, we need these comparisons to wake us. While some may be offended by the language, the reality it addresses is often far beyond the imagination.

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