Why a debate over how to define anti-Semitism has reached the United Nations

Good overview:

An international debate over what should be considered anti-Semitism — centred around a controversial definition that critics say chills legitimate criticism of Israel — has reached the United Nations.

Last week, a group of 60 human rights and civil society organizations wrote to the leadership of the UN, urging it not to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

They say the IHRA framework “has often been used to wrongly label criticism of Israel as antisemitic, and thus chill and sometimes suppress, non-violent protest, activism and speech critical of Israel and/or Zionism.”

Among the letter’s signatories are three Canadian organizations: Independent Jewish Voices Canada, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East and United Jewish People’s Order of Canada.

The high-profile appeal is just the latest twist in a now-years-long debate around the definition.

Mainstream Jewish groups and governments have urged the UN to officially adopt the IHRA’s working definition. To this point, the international body has insisted it has no plans to do so.

It has been adopted, meanwhile, in other jurisdictions around the world, including several in Canada.

Here’s a look at how the issue has become such a heated topic of debate.

Source: Why a debate over how to define anti-Semitism has reached the United Nations

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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