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CAEF sent a Survey to Toronto Mayoralty Candidates Re: Jewish Community Concerns

Dear Candidates,


Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation (CAEF) is a registered Canadian non-profit, founded in 2004. Our purpose is to provide information to the Canadian public, governments, media, professionals, community groups, students, and others on issues of antisemitism and ethnic or faith-based discrimination - how to recognize it, prevent it, and confront it.


In an age where society is intent on addressing the many forms of burgeoning hatred and discrimination, acts of antisemitism in Canada have continued to rise. 2021 saw 2,700 recorded instances of antisemitism, in a sixth consecutive record setting year. Almost eight incidents of antisemitism occurred every day, and 2021 saw a 733% increase in violent incidents, according to the annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents by B'nai Brith Canada's League for Human Rights.


Statistics Canada reported that Jewish Canadians topped the list of victims of religiously motivated hate crimes at 3,360 incidents, a 27% increase over 2020, a number that did not account for incidents not reported to the police or misclassified. This trend has only continued to rise since then.


The newest “acceptable” form of antisemitism, anti-Zionism, is running rampant, with anti-Jewish organizations and individuals making false claims to demonize the Jewish people, denigrate the Jewish state, while supposedly representing a social justice cause. Some such incidents have actually called for genocide against the Jewish people.


At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Jews were cited as the cause of the pandemic, only less frequently than the Chinese community. The targeting of the Jewish community has not abated.


The fact of rising antisemitism is a crisis for the whole of the City of Toronto and not just for the Jewish community.


Thus, the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation is asking all 2023 mayoralty candidates a few questions, addressing the subject of antisemitism, and will publish all responses.


Questions for Mayoralty Candidates


Please answer these questions and return the form by May 31, 2023, to Charles Cooke at the below-mentioned email

  1. If elected Mayor of Toronto, will you support the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, and if not, why not and if yes, what steps will you take to implement it?

  2. Given the increase in antisemitic incidents, if elected, what policies, practices or other steps will you take to address this?

  3. For some years now, anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian groups have, at the urging of the Ayatollah of Iran, held a protest that encourages hatred, spreads lies about Israel and discriminates against the Jewish people. Known as Al Quds Day, this event has been shown to be a hate fest and in 2023, included inciting rhetoric. If elected Mayor, will you support applying the City of Toronto’s existing anti-discrimination policies to effect a ban on the annual Al -Quds Day protest? If not, why not?

  4. The Jewish community has noted incidents of antisemitism have taken place in Toronto public schools, yet the Toronto District School Board has failed to inform the community as to its plans to implement the IHRA definition of antisemitism which it adopted in 2018 and has failed to curtail all anti-Israel and anti-Jewish ideological content from all schools. As Mayor, what steps would you take, and encourage City Council to take, to influence the TDSB to proactively eliminate antisemitism?

  5. Thankfully, there have been no serious attacks on individuals at Jewish religious and cultural facilities and programs, but there has been vandalism, harassment and threats. The Jewish community is concerned about ever increasing perceived threats, especially as these are serious in other communities in North America. As Mayor, how would you strengthen security for Jewish religious and cultural institutions/facilities?

  6. Housing affordability and access to services especially for seniors and families are issues that the Jewish community shares with all Toronto residents as we seek to uphold an exemplary quality of life for all. What are your planned priorities to address these areas?

Thank you for responding to our questions. If you have any comments or questions for us, apart for this survey, please feel free to contact me at Charlescooke@sympatico.ca.


Respectfully,


Charles Cooke, Government Relations, Liaison Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation


Tel No.: 647-998-8363


Please return the completed survey questionnaire either by replying to this email or by sending an email to Charlescooke@sympatico.ca.

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