BC United alleges Premier Eby personally intervened to prevent vital antisemitism initiative

THE BC United Party on Thursday alleged that just days after it was announced that 242 antisemitic incidents occurred in British Columbia in the past year, documents acquired through Freedom of Information (FOI) reveal that David Eby, as Attorney General, personally intervened to prevent the province’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism through legislation.

“Taking a stand against hate, violence, and antisemitism demands courage, going beyond mere words — it calls for concrete legislative action. The IHRA definition of antisemitism, adopted in Canada federally and in several provinces, is based on the lived experiences of Jews worldwide and provides a strong framework for identifying and fighting this insidious form of hate. David Eby’s intervention behind closed doors to stop this vital initiative in tackling antisemitism is an insult to countless British Columbians,” said Kevin Falcon, BC United Leader.

“For years, Jewish groups have been asking the NDP government to follow suit and formally adopt the definition — including B’nai Brith in a letter to Eby earlier this week. Refusing to formally adopt the IHRA definition sends an unacceptable message amidst a climate of hate speech, bigotry, and prejudice against the Jewish community.”

Despite representing just 1.25 per cent of the Canadian population, the Jewish community is the target of a staggering 56 per cent of all police-reported hate crimes in the country. Since David Eby was appointed Attorney General in 2017, Jews in British Columbia have faced 1,596 reported antisemitic incidents ranging from hate crimes, physical attacks, and harassment, the BC United Party said.

“It is unacceptable that David Eby continues to block the adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism in B.C. through legislation, failing to follow the lead of the federal government in adopting this important tool in the fight and prosecution against antisemitic hate,” said Michael Lee, MLA for Vancouver-Langara. “There have been nearly 1,600 antisemitic incidents in our province in the time that the NDP have dragged their feet and avoided enshrining this vital definition of antisemitism in B.C. through legislation. The time for action is long overdue.”

The NDP’s decision note cites “difficulties of [adopting the definition] in the current political climate,” in a likely reference to the internal strife over antisemitism at the 2021 NDP convention, where the NDP refused to support the definition after more than 40 NDP riding associations endorsed a resolution opposing the IHRA definition of antisemitism, said the BC United Party.