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WC-CARS statement on the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism

The West Coast Coalition Against Racism (WC-CARS) strongly opposes the IHRA

definition of anti-Semitism and its 11 examples. We consider the definition to be

both diversionary and racist. We follow in the long and proud tradition of our

communities in being anti-racist, supporting the oppressed and defending free


We believe that the purpose of enacting the IHRA definition is to divert attention

from the Zionist racism practiced by the state of Israel against the indigenous

people of Palestine, and from Israeli supremacism as recently documented by the

human rights group B’Tselem . When accused by supporters of Israel of being

anti-Semitic, Amnesty International stated that such an accusation is used “with

the purpose of derailing public debate from the real issue, which is war crimes

and other human rights abuses of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.”

Seven out of the eleven examples in the definition refer to Israel; it is clear that

the objective of those who use the IHRA definition is to curb criticism of Israel's

brutal practices, not to fight anti-Semitism. The definition serves to conflate Israel

with Jews and Judaism. By doing so, it implicates all Jews in Israeli atrocities and

war crimes , which in itself promotes anti-Semitism.

While we condemn the genocidal and racist practices inherit in any supremacist

settler colonialist project, we believe it is immoral, racist and unconscionable to

justify the ills of such projects on religious grounds. This is true for settler

colonialists in Palestine, where Judaism was used as a cover for war crimes, and

for the settler colonialists in Turtle Island, where Christianity was used as a cover

for genocide.

The IHRA definition also aims to suppress the Palestinian narrative and to deny

the Palestinians the right of exposing Israeli Apartheid and the genocide that has

been committed against them.

We condemn the Canadian government’s delegitimization and criminalization of

the Palestinian struggle for liberation through its adopting of the IHRA definition

and through listing Palestinian resistance organizations on its so-called “ Terrorist

List ”. These practices amount to institutional racism against the Palestinian


We applaud and support all organizations that have publicly opposed and

denounced the IHRA definition including Independent Jewish Voices Canada, the

BC Civil Liberties Association and Canada Palestine Association .

Finally, we in WCCARS commit ourselves to fight racism in all its forms, including

Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Black, anti-Indigenous and anti-Asian. We also

commit ourselves to fighting all forms of exploitation, colonialism, settler

colonialism, neocolonialism and imperialism, and accordingly support all liberation

movements that fight against foreign domination of their natural resources and

for the freedom, equality and dignity of their people.

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