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Toronto Sun: Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation objects to OSSTF event

Liz Braun

An image from the Ontario Secondary School Teacher’s Federations website PHOTO BY WWW.OSSTF.ON.CA /Toronto Sun

The Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation (CAEF) has expressed concern over a recent event organized by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF).

The event was a professional development day workshop for Toronto District School Board (TDSB) teachers entitled “Anti-Palestinian racism: Nakba denial.”

In a letter to the OSSTF, the CAEF expressed grave concern that the session being offered potentially, “demonizes the State of Israel.”

Teaching anything about the 1948-49 Israeli War of Independence that excludes any Israeli perspective, according to the CAEF, will lead to a misunderstanding of events and the potential for a skewed view of history.

Andria Spindel, executive director of the CAEF, wrote that neither of the two listed presenters appears to have any expertise on this chapter in history; moreover, it is alleged that both presenters have a history of hostility toward Israel.

Neither the OSSTF nor one of the session presenters, responded to requests for comment.

Spindel wrote that while people are entitled to their opinions as private citizens, those opinions may have a bearing on one’s, “objectivity and fitness to present at an OSSTF event which TDSB teachers are paid to attend.”

The letter Spindel sent was tweeted by lawyer Michael Teper, who is on the board of the CAEF.

In a recent interview, Teper claimed the presenters’ lack of expert knowledge on the subject matter was worrying. There’s an issue of balance here, he said.

“In the context of teacher training, there’s nobody telling a pro-Israeli story at this PD day event.”

In an email to TDSB Chair Rachel Chernos Lin, Teper wrote:

“I question the propriety of TDSB resources and paid PD time being dedicated to material that is either remotely relating to the Ontario curriculum (or not at all) and is likely just to be an exercise in political propaganda.”

The Israeli War of Independence is a gnarly bit of history, “just like the war that established the U.S.” said Teper, and teaching it, “requires a balanced analysis led by professionals.”

There are plenty of people in Toronto who are experts in this area of history, he added, and who could have been part of Friday’s session.

The TDSB referred questions about the session to OSSTF District 12.


This article was originally posted on the Toronto Sun and can be accessed here.


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