Parliament unanimously condemns rise of anti-Semitism

Irwin Cotler

OTTAWA — The House of Commons has unanimously adopted a motion condemning the rise of anti-Semitism around the world.

The Feb. 24 motion grew out of a four-hour discussion, called a “take-note” debate, in the House on the rise of global anti-Semitism.

The motion cited “an alarming increase in anti-Semitism worldwide,” including “the firebombing of synagogues and community centers, the vandalizing of Jewish memorials and cemeteries, incendiary calls for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people, and anti-Jewish terror.”

The measure reaffirmed “the importance of the Ottawa Protocol on Combating anti-Semitism as a model for domestic and international implementation,” and called on the government to “continue advancing the combating of anti-Semitism as a domestic and international priority.

“This global anti-Semitism constitutes not only a threat to Jews but an assault on our shared democratic values and our common humanity,” it stated.

It also reaffirmed, in the words of the 2010 Ottawa Protocol, that “criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is wrong. But singling Israel out for selective condemnation and opprobrium – let alone denying its right to exist or seeking its destruction – is discriminatory and hateful, and not saying so is dishonest.”

The measure called on Ottawa to continue fighting anti-Semitism “as a domestic and international priority; expand engagement with civil society, community groups, educators, and other levels of government to combat anti-Semitism; and to promote respect, tolerance, and mutual understanding.”

The debate was initiated by Jason Kenney, minister of multiculturalism, and Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, a former justice minister and internationally renowned human rights advocate who recently addressed the first-ever United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Anti-Semitism.