March 10, 2022
Dr. Patricia Houston,
Temerty Faculty of Medicine
Dear Dr. Houston;
The Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation supports your clarity on combating antisemitism and dedication to truth that you’ve exhibited in sponsoring the recent webinar on January 26, 2022 with Irwin Cotler on Contemporary Antisemitism. We hope, in the light of the backlash, that some of our insights and research can aid in the campaign against antisemitism at the University of Toronto.
We urge that the education of all Canadians is in keeping with Canadian values of democracy and free speech. We honour the rights of all Minorities to justice and support their desire to live in peace, and under the rule of law. We support Jewish rights to Israel that are historically and legally documented, and acknowledge that Israel has pursued peace with its neighbours on countless occasions, but such has always been rejected.
Israel provides full equality rights to all of its residents, and since its reconstitution has guaranteed such to all of its Arabs citizens and other Minorities. It doesn’t take much research to see this reality, noting that it has Islamist members in its federal parliament, the Knesset.
The enemies of Israel are led on campuses across North American by those who wish to deny the Jewish people their own state in their historic homeland. This is abundantly clear at the University of Toronto.
In Canada, a decades-old trajectory of Jewish/Israeli marginalization, under the pretense of human rights and anti-racism, has all but silenced any expression of Jewish rights and Jewish history. Recently one of our members was dismissed from a diversity course by a major Canadian publisher for trying to include and explain the Jewish experiences of intolerance in Canada during the early 1900s, while ALL other cases of discrimination had been included!
We note that Irwin Cotler did not undermine the work of the university’s antisemitism working group, but he did challenge their conclusion in choosing not to adopt IHRA. He demonstrated support for “the University as a place in which difficult and controversial questions are addressed.”
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition in no way recommends “to silence voices against anti-Palestinian racism and advocating for justice.” Justice and peace are exactly what Cotler and many pro-Israel groups are expressing and actively working towards. But, are these the values that pro-Palestinian groups are also seeking? If so, then we look forward to their suggestions, beyond their criticism of such people as Cotler and calls to eradicate Israel.
Perhaps they might think about addressing and aiding the Palestinian Arabs in Lebanon who have been held as refugees and pawns for over 70 years, denied access to higher education programs, professions and citizenship, or freeing the Palestinian Arabs who are hostage to the terror of Hamas, including women and children who are used as human shields? Or would these so-called social justice, human rights advocates read the research on UNRWA to know that Canadian and other Western donor countries are funding theteaching of antisemitism and the training of terrorists under the approved curriculum of the Palestinian Authority? The PA approved curriculum, used in all UNRWA schools teaches hate, erases and distorts history to seek Israel’s destruction and brainwashes children to kill Jews. See reference below for a portion of UNRWA’s curriculum. And consider that Arabs who kill Israelis are rewarded with a lifetime pension from the PA.
Cotler noted that the IHRA definition did not “repeatedly label legitimate criticism of Israel as
examples of antisemitism.” Anyone familiar with Israel would know that Israelis themselves are
constantly, both in the very diverse Knesset (Parliament) and in coffee shops, debating and
criticizing government policies, just as we do in Canada. Israel is a democracy where Arabs
within Israel live with full rights as citizens. See the Arab-Israeli’s speech attached below.
Cotler, repeatedly explained that the label “antisemitism” is related to the unequal, demonization of Israel. Biased badgering and blaming with such demands that are never made of other countries is antisemitic. Inequality has been a trope of antisemitism since the Emperor
Constantine dictated separate laws for Jews that limited their right to pray and work as free
TFOM, has not “undermined,” but has confirmed its “vital commitment to equity and
anti-racism” since antisemitism is too often not even listed under the banner of "woke" racism. By welcoming Irwin Cotler to share his wisdom, you’ve supported truth and free speech and
ultimately our democracy.
We thank you for this opportunity to engage, and for your holding this important event and ask that you share our letter and references below to educate all faculty at TFOM.
Yoseph Haddad’s speech about his life as an Arab-Israeli.
Webinar: Eugene Kontorovich: Jewish Settlements & International Law
Book Army of Shadows by Hillel Cohen Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism
UNRWA Palestinian Curriculum about Jews
cc. Professor Arthur Ripstein
President Meric Gertler
Hon. Irving Cotler, Special Envoy
Dr. Leon Kadish, President, DARA