Re: "Feds’ approach to Israeli state is troubling, says Ottawa reader," (The Hill Times, July 6, p. 8). In a recent letter, Morgan Duchesney takes issue with the Canadian government's adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism, which defines the term as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” Duchesney alleges that Canada’s adoption of the IHRA definition merely constitutes a smokescreen for protecting Israel against criticism. This is patently false. In no way does IHRA make the claim that criticism of Israel constitutes anti-Semitism. In fact, IHRA itself states unambiguously that “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.” So, what is the purpose, then, of IHRA’s definition, and the need to adopt clear language on what exactly constitutes anti-Semitism? IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism is meant to identify Jew-hatred in all its forms, which in modern times has sometimes manifested itself as denial of the Jewish people’s collective rights to self-determination, which is Zionism. In the letter, Duchesney makes a number of claims regarding Israel, including referring brazenly to “Israel's illegal occupation of conquered Palestinian territory.” This is totally inaccurate. There is not one square inch of Israel’s presence in the region which sits upon a former Palestinian state, and Israel retains extensive historical and legal rights to the land in question. Under the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, even baseless and unfounded claims—like Duchesney’s allegations against Israel—do not constitute anti-Semitism, though they are wrong. The reason that dozens of countries, including Canada, and countless sub-regions of Canada, including namely the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, have adopted the IHRA definition, is not to protect Israel from criticism. On the contrary, this non-binding definition is aimed at making the distinction clearer between criticism of Israel, no matter how misleading it may be, and the dehumanization and delegitimization of the Jewish people, both individually and collectively. Mike Fegelman Executive director, HonestReporting Canada Toronto, Ont.