Anthony Housefather is the federal government’s new special adviser on antisemitism. What now?

Anthony Housefather
Montreal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather tells the crowd at Congregation Beth Tivkah in Dollard-des-Ormeaux on Sunday, April 7, 2024, why fighting antisemitism will likely be his full time job going forward. (Facebook)

Montreal-area Liberal MP Anthony Housefather said he is grateful to have been officially appointed, on July 5, as a special adviser to the prime minister and cabinet on Canada’s Jewish community and antisemitism. Housefather’s new title also comes with a budget for travel and one extra staffer to help with files he is already working on, in the wake of the unprecedented spike in antisemitism that erupted after Oct. 7.

To be clear, Housefather is not the country’s new special envoy on combatting antisemitism and promoting Holocaust remembrance—a post that was previously held by Irwin Cotler before Deborah Lyons took over last year. Rather, Housefather will continue working closely with her office, as he has been doing for the past three months, and will enjoy “an added level of respect,” as he put it, when he knocks on the doors of politicians, university presidents and the police.

In late March, Housefather told The CJN Daily he was deeply unsure whether to remain in the Liberal party following a motion in Parliament on the Israel-Hamas war, supported by all but three Liberals MPs, which initially proposed Canada unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state. But after a tete-a-tete with Justin Trudeau that resulted in the offer to take on this new role, Housefather chose to remain in government.

Housefather returns to The CJN Daily to explain why the announcement took 13 weeks to make, what he can do about campus encampments, what insight he can provide into the hiring of a controversial new Canadian human rights commissioner, and how he hopes to help keep Jewish institutions safe from protests and attacks.

What we talked about:

  • Read the official announcement from the Prime Minister’s Office on, July 5, 2024, appointing Anthony Housefather as special adviser on Jewish community relations and antisemitism
  • Why Anthony Housefather was thinking about quitting the Liberal Party over its stance on Israel-Gaza in March 2024, in The CJN
  • Hear our interview with Anthony Housefather from April 8, when he outlined what his new role would likely be, on The CJN Daily

Credits: 

The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine.  We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here. Hear why The CJN is important to me.