Holocaust Survivors Express Support for IHRA Definition of Antisemitism in Letter to NDP Members

April 5, 2021

Media Release

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Toronto (April 5, 2021) – Holocaust survivors affiliated with Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) have signed an open letter to NDP members expressing support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism ahead of a vote on a motion calling for the rejection of the definition at the federal party's upcoming convention.

In the letter, the Holocaust survivors stated: “The IHRA definition of antisemitism encompasses so much of what we deal with on a daily basis - a hatred that we would not wish upon anyone. We are deeply alarmed by the motion that is being put forward at your convention to reject this definition. The IHRA definition of antisemitism is the majority consensus of the global Jewish community and, like every other group that has ever faced persecution, we have every right to name the prejudice and hatred we face. That right is ours.  

“We ask you to allow us and our community to speak for ourselves when defining the prejudices that we face. This is not just a matter of politics - it’s a matter of our voices being heard about an issue that uniquely affects us. We have had our voices silenced before as Jews, and we know exactly where it leads.” 

FSWC stands in solidarity with the five Holocaust survivors- Hedy Bohm, Max Eisen, Andy Réti, Vera Schiff and Gershon Willinger – who have committed so much of their time to educating Canadians, especially students, about their experiences during the Holocaust and the importance of standing against hate.   

FSWC supports the survivors’ call for members of the NDP to stand with the Jewish community in the fight against antisemitism.