Saskatchewan government adopts definition of antisemitism

Dec. 18th marked the first day of Hanukkah festivities, during which each night, members of the Jewish community light the candles on their Menorah.

The eight-day festival is used to reflect on a story of perseverance.

“Overcoming the darkness with light, with faith with perseverance and with being proud of who you are,” said B’Nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn.

“We will overcome the rise in hatred, and we will overcome issues of antisemitism.”

Data from the 2021 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents conducted by B’Nai Brith says there was an increase of 7.2 per cent in antisemitic incidents from 2020 to 2021, marking six consecutive years.

Read more: Antisemitic graffiti found outside church in Toronto’s east end

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The audit found nearly eight incidents would occur every day in Canada.

The Saskatchewan government adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism on Dec. 19.

The adoption is welcomed by B’Nai Brith. They believe this will provide a key tool in the fight against hate the Jewish community faces.

“This is very welcome; this is something that the Jewish community has been asking for,” says Mostyn.

Read more: Public invited to stand up against hate and antisemitism at east Toronto menorah lighting

For a festival that has gone on for centuries, the premise remains the same.

Rabbi Avrohom Simmonds is the executive director of the Chabad Jewish Centre of Regina. He is happy with the adoption and believes this is a crucial first step in the fight to end antisemitism.

“It’s important to also recognize what … is that darkness that we are fighting against and calling a spade a spade and calling antisemitism what it is.” says Simmonds.

To help ring in Hanukkah for this year Simmonds is encouraging everyone to come to the Legislative building Dec. 20th for the third lighting of the Menorah.

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He hopes that everyone takes up a new year’s resolution to increase help with others, sharing with others and making the world a better place.

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