An Open Letter to Canadian University Presidents
Following the recent Hamas-Israel conflict, Canadians have seen a rash of online posts by university faculty members and associations which masquerade as political discourse but reveal ignorance and prejudice. It is embarrassing and unacceptable that any Canadian university faculty members who engage in such biased anti-Israel rhetoric have likely never read a basic book on Israel’s history, Jewish history, or Middle East history, nor know of the complexity of cultural, ethnic-religious relations, nor even the geography of the area, and probably never even consulted a map before tweeting discriminatory statements about Israel and or Jews.
We’d like to pass on this link to a recent op-ed in The Star which we hope will inspire the Canadian university community to become more educated and to educate others about Jews and Israel. There must be a commitment to building an environment that supports equality, diversity, inclusion, and an anti-racism for all students. Jewish students must be shown that they are included in this vision. The university environment must also support diversity of opinion, civil discourse and truth, not a competition in “narratives,” a hierarchy of oppression, and divisive racial politics.
Antisemitism is the oldest and most continuous hatred in the world. Ignoring it is not addressing it. It is a fact that expression of antisemitism is huge on social media and antisemitic acts are increasing in Canada and globally. Universities in Germany were bastions of antisemitism. Let there not be a repeat of history by any university administration or board of governors ignoring the lies that are perpetrated by students and/or faculty.
The International Legal Forum, based in Tel Aviv, has created a guide to help educators and others understand antisemitism. We are attaching a copy of the guide, as we believe it can serve as a powerful tool in understanding the threat posed to individual Jews, Jewish communities and to our very way of life as free, open, and tolerant societies by anti-Zionist antisemitism.
We urge your attention to all forms of Jew hatred, and ask that you take serious steps to address it, including adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism.
Act now, before it is too late!
Andria Spindel Executive Director
Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation