Statement from La’ad Canada on the appointment of Hassan Yussuff to the Senate of Canada.

On June 22nd it was announced that past President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) Hassan Yussuff had been appointed as an independent Senator. During his time with the CLC Mr. Yussuff authored a letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, calling on him to oppose the adoption of the International Holocaust Remebrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism — citing concerns that it would conflate criticism of the policies of the State of Israel with antisemitism — and expressing support for the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. 

Leaving aside the absurdly incorrect characterization of the IHRA definition, Mr. Yussuff remains free to hold personal beliefs contrary to Canadian values. However, as a member of Canada’s Senate he must act in accordance with established government policies and positions which include both the formal adoption of the IHRA definition (June 25th, 2019) and Parliament’s explicit rejection of the BDS movement (February 22, 2016.)

According to a study commissioned by La’ad Canada and conducted by nationally respected polling firm Campaign Research, roughly half of Canadians who support BDS acknowledge that even if Israel were to make the major concessions asked of it by the movement — including giving away much of its ancestral Jewish land, and acknowledging a Palestinian right of return — they would still support additional boycotts. If there is nothing that Israel can do to appease its critics, one must ask what exactly motivates their hatred for the world’s only Jewish state.  As a representative of the Senate, Mr. Yussuff would do well to ask himself that question. 

For additional information contact:

Sam Eskenasi
Director of Advocacy

Fast Facts:

  • To date, 26 countries and countless jurisdictions, NGOs and corporations have formally adopted the IHRA definition.
  • The IHRA definition itself does not mention Israel at all; it is only mentioned in a section of theoretical examples designed to assist in detecting antisemitism with regards to Israel, such as blaming Jews as a whole for the actions of the State of Israel or accusing Israel of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust. 
  • The fact that almost half of those who support a boycott of Israel would do so even if Israel complied with all of the BDS movement’s demands begs the question of what motivates these individuals.