News Release – Minister Kenney speaks out against anti–Semitism

Jerusalem, December 16, 2009 — Canada is putting a renewed focus on the new anti–Semitism, one predicated on the notion that the Jews alone have no right to a homeland, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said today in Jerusalem.

Canada is not content to be an observer on the world stage. Rather, Canada is playing a leadership role in combating the new anti–Semitism,” said Minister Kenney, speaking at the Global Forum for combating anti–Semitism.

The Minister noted that among other things, Canada was the first country in the world to announce it would not attend the Durban 2 conference. The Governments of Israel, the United States, and much of the European Union later followed Canada’s lead and boycotted the conference. “Canada’s fears that Durban 2 would, like its predecessor Durban 1, descend into an anti–Semitic hatefest were fully vindicated,” said the Minister.

Rather than combating racism, Durban promoted it. Our government will not allow Canada’s good name to be sullied by association with a conference whose sole purpose, it seems, is like that of the first Durban", said Minister Kenney.

Among recent measures Canada has undertaken on the world stage to lead in the combat against the new anti–Semitism, Canadian officials walked out on a speech by Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and at a summit of francophone countries, Prime Minister Stephen Harper refused to sign a one–sided draft statement criticizing Israel.

In addition to our leadership in combating anti–Semitism on the world stage, we have taken a hard look at Government of Canada programming as part of our zero–tolerance approach to anti–Semitism” said Minister Kenney.

Our Government is working to dismantle the client relationship that existed between the Government of Canada and organizations whose priority is seemingly to advocate for the legalization of banned terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as deny the Jewish people’s right to a homeland,” the Minister added. "We have also taken a leadership role in condemning anti–Semitism on Canadian university campuses.

The Government has also taken action to recognize dark chapters in Canada’s history such as the tragedy of the M.S. St. Louis, a ship carrying Jewish refugees that was refused safe haven by a number of countries, including Canada. Many of its passengers went on to perish in the Holocaust. The Government has made available a total of $2.5 million for educational and commemorative projects related to the M.S. St. Louis through the Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP).

In addition, in February 2009, the inaugural conference of the Inter–parliamentary Coalition on Combating Anti–Semitism (ICCA) was held in London, which produced the London Declaration on Combating Anti–Semitism. Following the conference, the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti–Semitism was established with a mandate to conduct an inquiry on anti–Semitism in Canada and, if asked, to assist in hosting the 2010 ICCA Conference in Canada.

For more information about Canada’s work to combat anti–Semitism and to learn about CHRP, visit: www.cic.gc.ca/english/multiculturalism/index.asp.

For further information (media only), please contact:

Alykhan Velshi
Minister’s Office
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Alykhan.Velshi@cic.gc.ca

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
613-952-1650
CIC-Media-Relations@cic.gc.ca

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