Pro-Israel groups have long tried to shut down Palestine activism in the name of false anti-Semitism charges, but they hope that by implementing the IHRA working definition, institutions will be obliged to comply with their demands. If the IHRA definition is indeed enforced in a way that silences critics of Israel, it will be the definition’s intended outcome—the very thing it was built to do.
Instead of easing diplomatic restrictions on Israel, the international community should be imposing economic and diplomatic sanctions on Israel as an incentive to dismantle the occupation and come to the negotiating table. The UAE’s opportunistic path is not likely to end division and conflict in the region and may in fact intensify and prolong it. This is not something that Canada should encourage.