FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2022
The following is a statement from The Working Group Against Jew-Hatred:
The Working Group Against Jew-Hatred (AJH) Thanks Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism for Productive Meeting
The Working Group Against Jew-Hatred (AJH) would like to thank the Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism, the Honourable Parm Gill, for taking time to have an important virtual meeting with us today.
The Working Group AJH is a coordinated effort of over a dozen Jewish advocacy organizations facilitated by MPP for Thornhill Gila Martow and Toronto City Councillor James Pasternak. Most recently, it has responded to the hate rally that took place in Toronto on January 29, 2022.
“These events are held without any permits, and are in total violation of Toronto’s Anti-Discrimination Policy and Anti-Hate Rally Policy. The organizers are known. We are calling on City of Toronto staff to seek compensation for the costs of policing, to use the power of trespass orders and to seek the cost of using public space. We have a Hate Rally Policy but staff seem reluctant to enforce it,” said Toronto City Councillor James Pasternak.
Antisemitism is the most common form of hate crime and continues to be on the rise, and the perception is that more can be done by all levels of government.
“Even the school board level is blocking programs like JTeach because they are bringing their own biases towards the Jewish community and Israel to the table,” added Rabbi Corey Margolese, Founder of JTeach.
"I want to thank Minister Gill for taking time to meet with our working group to discuss a number of important issues. Our organization is focused on providing practical, job-relevant training on antisemitism and we look forward to working further with the government to combat antisemitism and promote education across the province,” stated Sam Eskenasi, representing La’ad Canada.
“It is not about just teaching about the Holocaust. We want to teach about Jewish History. Too often we the focus is on murdered Jews. We want to talk about Canadian Jews and Jewish contribution to Canadian society and Canada as a country,” added Doris Epstein, Co-Chair for Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR).
Recently, Doctors Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (DARA) stated that: “Jewish students deserve the same protections as all other students on campus. DARA has urged the University of Toronto to consider Jewish faculty and students a vulnerable minority group so they may be afforded the protection they need to feel safe,” explained Dr. Leon Kadish. “While the governments of Canada, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, as well as dozens of other nations, accept the IHRA definition of antisemitism, the gold standard for identifying the world’s oldest hatred in all its contemporary forms, and a vital tool in the fight against the rise of global antisemitism, the University of Toronto claimed that a definition was not designed for a university context. How can antisemitism be eliminated if there is no framework to identify it?” he added.
“Hasbara Canada strongly encourages the adoption of the IHRA definition at every university in this province as administrations have shown they clearly lack an understanding of antisemitism in the 21st century. Regarding the TDSB, it is clear educators and teachers require antisemitism training – again, based on IHRA – so they can better identify and combat anti-Jewish hatred whenever it rears its ugly head,” reiterated Daniel Koren, Canadian Director of Hasbara Fellowships.
“The Ontario government has passed a resolution through the executive council to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, but we are not seeing it being adopted or enforced in public institutions,” stated Andria Spindel, Executive Director for Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation (CAEF).
MPP Gila Martow thanked Minister Gill for his support and reminded him that the organizations are asking for better coordination across all ministries to ensure the full adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism. “We are asking for the meaningful enforcement of the laws, by-laws and policies that are already on the books,” she stated.
“I appreciate the opportunity to have these important discussions on ways we can work together to fight hate and antisemitism in our communities,” stated Minister Gill. “It is essential that we continue to work in partnership with organizations and community leaders to create meaningful change and build a stronger, more inclusive Ontario,” the Minister stressed.
For more information, please contact:
Becky Battat | email@example.com | 905-731-8462
About the Working Group Against Jew-Hatred (AJH)
The Working Group Against Jew-Hatred (AJH) is a group of grassroot organizations concerned with the rise of antisemitism in Ontario.