URFA opposes IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism

On April 6, 2021 URFA’s Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee unan­i­mous­ly passed a motion to sup­port aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom by reject­ing the Inter­na­tion­al Holo­caust Remem­brance Alliance’s (IHRA) Work­ing Def­i­n­i­tion of Anti­semitism. In doing so, URFA joins the Aca­d­e­m­ic Alliance Against Anti­semitism, Racism, Colo­nial­ism & Cen­sor­ship in Cana­da (ARC), which is made up of more than 20 fac­ul­ty asso­ci­a­tions and unions.

URFA stands against anti­semitism and all forms of racism and hat­ed. The sup­port of aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom and the abil­i­ty of URFA mem­bers to con­duct their work and research with­out insti­tu­tion­al cen­sor­ship, is a key ele­ment of URFA’s vision and mis­sion, and is root­ed in our Con­sti­tu­tion and Bylaws (see Arti­cle II). Out­lined below, the motion URFA adopt­ed express­es our con­cerns with the exist­ing definition.


The Uni­ver­si­ty of Regi­na Fac­ul­ty Asso­ci­a­tion unequiv­o­cal­ly sup­ports the aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom of its mem­bers. This free­dom includes the right to pur­sue research and open inquiry in an hon­est search for knowl­edge that is free from insti­tu­tion­al cen­sor­ship, includ­ing that of the gov­ern­ment. While URFA oppos­es anti­semitism and all forms of racism and hatred, the Inter­na­tion­al Holo­caust Remem­brance Alliance’s Work­ing Def­i­n­i­tion of Anti­semitism pos­es a seri­ous threat to aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom in our Uni­ver­si­ty of Regi­na community.

The IHRA def­i­n­i­tion of anti­semitism mis­con­strues anti­semitism to include a broad range of crit­i­cism of the State of Israel. The IHRA def­i­n­i­tion thus under­mines impor­tant anti-racist and decolo­nial ini­tia­tives in Cana­di­an edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions. It can also be used to cen­sor polit­i­cal speech and restrict the aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom of teach­ers and researchers who have devel­oped crit­i­cal per­spec­tives on the poli­cies and prac­tices of the State of Israel. Such tar­get­ed attacks will have a chill­ing effect on the aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom of our mem­bers in the class­room, in their research, and in cam­pus pol­i­tics more broadly.

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