Quebec town of Hampstead adopts IHRA anti-Semitism definition

The town council of Hampstead, Que. unanimously approved the resolution.

The town council of Hampstead, Que., unanimously adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism at its March 2 regular meeting.

The resolution reproduces the IHRA definition’s preamble, as well as refers to “the illustrative examples that were published with the IHRA definition.”

That preamble reads: “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish and non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

The non-legally binding definition was adopted by the IHRA’s 31 member states, including Canada, in 2016.

The resolution, which was proposed by Coun. Harvey Shaffer and seconded by Coun. Michael Goldwax, also affirms that Hampstead is “dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism and discrimination in all its forms.”

The town was commended by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) “for joining a growing number of other municipalities and jurisdictions throughout the country in adopting the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism,” stated CIJA Quebec co-chair Rabbi Reuben Poupko.

“The definition is a vital tool for public authorities and we applaud all governments with the foresight to adopt it as a proactive means to combat anti-Semitism in all its forms.”

The Montreal suburb has a population of over 7,100.

At the same council meeting, a resolution recognizing the sacrifice made by Jewish Canadian soldiers during the First and Second World War and Korean War was also unanimously passed, after being introduced by Shaffer and Goldwax as well.

The resolution specifies that 579 Jewish members of the Canadian armed forces died in these wars. It singles out the work done by Larry Rosenthal in organizing an annual memorial service for the fallen at the Field of Honour in the Baron de Hirsch Cemetery.

Hampstead commemorates this sacrifice each year as well on Remembrance Day and Victory in Europe Day.