The Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation (CAEF) Bulletin summarizes activities, achievements and volunteer engagement. Reader comments are always welcome.
Response from Dr. Meric Gertler, President of University of Toronto, and Reply from CAEF
A week ago, the Palestinian Student Association sponsored Norman Finkelstein at UTM campus during the annual, antisemitic hate fest called Israel Apartheid Week, and the Graduate Student Association passed a resolution to boycott Israel. The President responded in a very considerate manner to our letter which condemned both events. President Gertler focused on two items, freedom of speech and the independence of student organizations from the university administration. These are well known facts but don’t address the substance of our concern.
It is time that the Adult population, and a responsible Administration spoke up and took issue with the lies, the hatred, the antisemitic implications and their damage. It is fine to laud free speech, but that also implies the President is free to speak, and to express another view, that being that the grad and undergrad students’ positions are prejudicial, reflect ignorance and antisemitism, they repeat lies and intimidate Jewish students. Our letter noted that the President of Cornell University, Martha Pollack, has spoken up against BDS on her campus.
Freedom of speech is sacrosanct, but so is speaking up and not being silent in the face of hatred and lies. The late and esteemed Eli Wiesel, a champion for human rights and justice, cautioned all of us to not tolerate the intolerable, or history will repeat itself. Would the University of Toronto allow Neo-Nazis a platform just because they are free to spew hatred? Would this administration ignore calls to defund programs or end relationships with any other country or would it speak up? I know there are student and faculty exchanges with North Korea at UBC where I am an alumnus, and no one is calling to end this despite the most horrible record of human rights abuses in the world by the North Korean government. So, calls to boycott a democratic ally of Canada should be called out by the administration as distinctly antisemitic.
CAEF responded, patiently and I trust constructively in a letter to President Gertler in which we make a few suggestions of concrete action that his administration can take.
Canadians for the Rule of Law Teach-In a Great Success, Volunteers Eager to Act
By Daniel Bordman
On Sunday March 17th, 2019, the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation was a proud sponsor of the very successful first conference organized by the newly registered charity, Canadians for the Rule of Law (CFTRL).
The conference was a starting point for a new way to defend freedom of speech and religion, and fight terrorists and radicals; the rule of law. A series of speakers, from all over the world, spoke on a variety of topics from the role of religion in public space, and propaganda in the media, to bankrupting terrorists through lawfare.
Hopefully, we are at a turning point in Canada, as over 60 people volunteered to help CFRTL’s lawyers research those people and organizations that threaten our freedoms -- from the radical Left, radical Right and Islamists. This activity will contribute significantly to stopping the bad actors in our society from trying to undermine the rule of law through censorious and harassment, violence and potentially terrorism, often funded by spurious or illegal, non-conforming “charities”.
It is not too late for any and all citizens - including you - to be a part of the new army of civilians fighting to maintain our democracy. You can volunteer here for CFTRL.
For people who were unable to attend the conference, we have some good news. As soon as it is made available online, CAEF will send you links to videos of the different panels and keynote speakers which you missed.
A few special features that you will want to view when available: fighting terror organizations in the courts was beautifully presented by Rachel Weiser, Senior Counsel from Shurat HaDin, Israel’s law fare project. Their success has been in undermining terrorist groups by taking away their money through the legal system. In Canada, where there have been attacks on Canadian civil liberties by mob behavior, we heard from John Carpay, President of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. In his talk, Carpay spoke of the dangers facing the Canadian rule of law through the biases of Human Rights Tribunals.
The talks also featured members of our organization: Irving Weisdorf, President; Andria Spindel, Executive Director; and Daniel Bordman, Communications Coordinator. Each participated in panels or workshops that addressed issues concerning Canada and the Jewish community.
We thank those of you who attended, and we encourage all to catch up on issues affecting the rule of law in Canada. Consider how you might help with just two hours a month doing research, advocacy or litigation as a volunteer with CFTRL, working to ensure a safe future for our country.
Why Do the Irish Hate Israel?
It is pretty common knowledge that the very leftist Labour Party in the United kingdom under Jeremy Corbyn is increasingly showing itself as antisemitic. Corbyn stands shoulder to shoulder with his friends in Hamas and Hezbollah and refuses to accept the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s approved definition of antisemitism which includes anti-Israel demonization and the denial of Israel's rights, while criticizing Israel unduly and never similarly criticizing other countries. But, why would the Irish government contemplate a BDS motion, and even criminalize commercial exchanges with businesses in the disputed territories? A bit extreme you might say. Why are they so one-sided as to believe that Israel is the only party responsible for there not being peace? And how can they not know the true goal of BDS is to destroy the whole of Israel?
CAEF sent a letter to the Teaosiach (Prime Minister) of Ireland, Leo Varadkar. Varadkar who is gay, recently traveled with his partner to America, where he hailed the new era in Ireland of openness and equality for all and of which he has said, “I am judged by my political actions, and not my sexual orientation, my skin tone, gender or religious beliefs.” Our letter questioned the inherent antisemitism in the boycott resolution, which one might point out is against the only gay friendly, human rights supporting country in all of the Middle East and North Africa, where he would indeed be safe from persecution.
CAEF Encourages Canadian Organizations and Institutions to Adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Antisemitism
Canada has been a member of the IHRA since 2009 and hosted two of its meetings. Thirty two (32) country members have adopted the working definition of antisemitism, which includes specific examples of antisemitism disguised as antiZionism. Here is the link to the Canadian government’s information followed by important excerpts from the approved IHRA site. Note these examples of what is considered antisemitism:
Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
Update on CAEF Message to the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg and the Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute, Regarding Their Invitation to Linda Sarsour to speak at April 26th Event
Linda Sarsour is a U.S.born Muslim, one of the co-founders of the Women’s March on Washington, a spokesperson for Black Lives Matter and a strong adherent to the intersectionality theory of injustice in society.
As a very public figure, Sarsour, regularly issues antisemitic and antiZionist messages and stands with Jew-haters like Louis Farrakhan.
Here is the full posting on the SPCW site regarding the complaints they received about Sarsour, and below are the SPCW responses to complaints about her antisemitism and her divisiveness within the Women’s March organization:
On accusations of Anti-Semitism:
"SPCW holds that it is possible to support Palestinians, a Palestinian homeland, criticize the Israeli government and not be anti-Semitic. Having thoughtful voices heard from different perspectives is essential to serious and nuanced discussion. We find it very difficult to believe that the Obama administration would grant an award to someone with anti-Semitic views.
It is also important to note that colonialism played a role in the establishment of Israel. Recognizing this does not in anyway seek to minimize the horror of the Holocaust or that the then world’s leaders failed to act in support of the Jewish People. However, the Palestinians claim equal rights and history to that same land. Here in Canada, our history of colonialism has also done significant harm and created division. Connecting the dots between the processes and recognizing the similarities of these local and distant struggles should help us not repeat this history."
On rifts within the Women’s March:
"Given how the march and resulting organization came together so quickly and spread so widely, expecting one perfectly coalesced broad movement is unrealistic. Ms. Sarsour’s work speaks to the difficult conversations that have to be fleshed out for movements to be keep moving forward."
CAEF offered the following to SPCW and NCMI in a letter to their Board and Executive Director
Anti-Zionism equals Antisemitism, as is clearly explained by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in its working definition of antisemitism. However, as importantly, is our concern that SPCW is repeating falsehoods that need to be countered:
There is no such country as Palestine and there Never has been. The original people of the area included in the Mandate for Palestine, were both Palestinian Jews and Palestinian Arabs; there was no distinct Palestinian Arab people, and there still isn’t. Most Arabs came to the area after the Jews began to settle there; they then enjoyed a higher standard of living including better medical care. Most Arabs trace their families to Syria, Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq, Kuwait etc.
The Obama administration made many mistakes, and several distinctly discriminated against Jews and Israel; granting an award to an anti-Semite is one of them.
Jews began to return to their 3000 year old homeland prior to 1948. It was never a “colonial project.” Would it be a colonial project if a segment of African Americans returned to Africa? It is disparaging, unjust, inaccurate and discriminatory to characterize Israel as such. The re-establishment of the Jewish State was set in motion in 1917 with the Balfour Declaration, and at the San Remo Conference of 1920. Commitments were made under the League of Nations that authorized the British government to ensure the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the Mandate for Palestine. (The same Mandate system created Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and several African countries.) There was NO invasion, no ethnic cleansing, no ‘bantustans’ or reservations established. The Jews expected and desired to live among the Arab population that was there, as they had centuries before, but this was not to be.
The early pioneers, who among other things founded Tel Aviv on sand in 1920, drained swamps, established farms on desert soil, and purchased land from absentee Ottoman landlords, did not harm the Arab population.
The Zionist movement which stands for the “return to Zion” (another name for Jerusalem), and the re-establishment of their national home in the original national home of Israel, was endorsed by the world, through the United Nations, the inheritor of the League of Nations, which granted recognition to Israel AND to Jordan in 1948 with most of Palestine going to the Arabs.
In response to the Declaration of Independence by Israel, the Arabs carried out attacks and massacred Jews, and local Arabs fled encouraged by five neighboring Arab armies intent on the annihilation of the entire Jewish population; they were all former allies of Hitler during WWII. Jordan captured the so-called “West Bank”, and granted citizenship to the Arabs while forcibly expelling all the Jews, demonstrating again their full intent, to eradicate the indigenous Jewish population. Does anyone hear a call of “ethnic cleansing,” of “apartheid,” of “racism” levelled at Jordan?
Jews are indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa and yet between 1947 and 1957 almost 900,000 Jews were ethnically cleansed from all Arab countries and Iran. The Arabs who claim “refugee” status were not only never cleansed, they are not now nor ever were refugees, except for the fact that their cousins in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt would never grant them rights nor treat them as equals, and it continues until today.
So, despite Sarsour’s hate for Israel, none of her claims have merit. Israel is a legal entity, recognized by the UN, and an ally of Western democratic countries.
Sarsour conveniently ignores the truth, historical facts and current reality. That reality includes the noteworthy fact that Israel is the only country in the Middle East and North Africa that grants full rights to all of its citizens, which is not true in any Arab country.
Lastly, to commend Sarsour for supporting Women’s Rights is untenable. She needs to be called out for slandering Jewish women, for ignoring the plight of Muslim girls and women under brutal Islamist regimes such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, where taking off a head scarf can result in a prison term. She ignores the forced marriages of young girls, female genital mutilation, misogynistic laws that make women second class citizens, and she never speaks up for those women champions struggling for equality in these countries. Her positions could easily be described as misogynistic.
Sarsour ignores the use of women and children as human shields by Hamas, the use of acid thrown in the faces of non - compliant women in Afghanistan, and the jailing of Christian women in Pakistan for alleged blasphemy under barbaric laws. On several public occasions Linda Sarsour has also been called out for using racist language against white women.
How can SPCW and CMWI consider featuring this racist, non-feminist, antiSemite as a speaker?
Advance Notice of Upcoming Speaker Program - HOLD THE DATE
On May 22, Dr. Mordechai Kedar will be our featured lunch speaker at a downtown location. Known for his tremendous knowledge of the Middle East and of the Arabic language, and his ability to “tell it like it is,” Dr. Kedar will contribute greatly to debunking the occupation lie and major Arab myths about Palestine.
On May 23rd, Dr. Kedar will offer a workshop for people who wish to have answers at their fingertips to the challenging, often misguided or uninformed questions that our detractors, Jewish and non-Jewish ask. Details will be made available to those who register. More information to follow.
UJA Walk for Israel, Street Fest 2019
The Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation will host an information table on May 20th at the Bathurst Street Fest. Volunteers are needed from 10:00am to 8:00pm.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer your time at the CAEF table.