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CAEF Letter to TDSB re: the inclusion of Anti-Palestinian Racism (APR) category to their polices.

May 15, 2024


Ms. Rachel Chernos-Lin, Chair

and Trustees, Toronto District School Board



Dear Chair Chernos-Lin and all TDSB Trustees;


I write to you on behalf of the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation as it has come to our attention that Trustees of the Toronto District Board of Education are being asked to consider adding a new category of persons or groups to your anti-harassment, anti-hate policies. CAEF supports the view that no child, teacher, administrator or any persons associated with the TDSB or any other school board, should be the recipient of discrimination or hatred and we applaud the TDSB for having polices to address hatred. We urge close monitoring, reporting, investigation and consequences whenever an incident occurs. However, we do not agree that adding a category called “Anti-Palestinian Racism,” (APR) is warranted.


Current policies cover race and religion/faith/creed, so it is our view that persons claiming Palestinian heritage are covered already. Inclusion of an APR policy is therefore not necessary; persons of a Palestinian Arab background are not a separate race.


The inclusion of APR as a new category is putting political identification in the category of protected groups and that is not appropriate. It is quite appropriate in Canadian society to hold different political views and these are not categorically hateful.


We understand that in the very politicized environment in which the State of Israel is discussed, some opponents wish to suggest that Israel is not a legal state but of course under international law, the Jewish state is as legitimate as any other state, including Lebanon, Jordan and Syria which were all created by the Mandatory powers of France and Britain after WWI.


Antisemitism is on the rise and will only be encouraged if APR becomes a designated category, limiting free speech in favour of a political viewpoint.


Just as persons who are either Chinese, Japanese or Korean, are covered by an anti-Asian policy, so are Palestinian Arabs covered by anti-Islamophobia policies. The Board has no need to list every Arab or Muslim country to protect against anti-Muslim bigotry. In fact, neither Islamophobia nor racism are geographically based. We therefore urge that as Trustees, you do not create new categories and differentiations that have no evidentiary basis and that you do not put political perspectives into defining hatred.


We welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with the Board.


Respectfully,




Andria Spindel, Executive Director

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